NBC and ABC synched up their schedules last night, both airing hourlong recap specials leading to the two-hour finales of their talent competition series The Voice and Dancing with the Stars, respectively. The nets split the night, with NBC taking adults 18-49 (2.8) and ABC winning in total viewers (13.7 million) with its largest audience in a year and a half. The two finales had something else in common — both were down year-to-year. The Voice (3.3 in 18-49, 11.6 million total viewers) posted an eight-week high for a Tuesday telecast in 18-49 but was down 25% from last spring’s finale, which aired in June to mark the third consecutive cycle of finale ratings declines. Dancing (2.4) was down 11% from last spring’s season finale to tie last fall’s cycle as the lowest-rated finale.
Despite facing soft competition in the 8 PM hour this week with Voice and Dancing recaps and a Judge Judy special on CBS (0.9), the performance finale of Fox’s American Idol (1.7, 6.6 million) was down 19% from last week. Compared to last year’s performance finale, Idol was down a steep 43% in 18-49 and 45% in total viewers. After the comedy-improv series Riot bombed in its debut behind Glee last Tuesday, Fox moved up the premiere of new reality series I Want To Marry Harry to follow the Idol performance finale. It did only marginally better, pulling in a 0.7 in 18-49 vs. the dismal 0.5 for Riot last week.
The CW veteran Supernatural continues to defy its age. Last night’s ninth season finale (1.1) was up 38% from last week and up 10% from last season’s finale. (CBS stayed out of contention with specials.)