'Lost' finale ratings: Good enough for the win, but it's no season 1

More than 12 million people tuned into the two-hour season finale of Lost last night, which helped propel ABC to win Thursday night in adults 18-49 and total viewers despite the absence of an original Grey’s Anatomy. The out-of-season finale, not surprisingly, dominated its 9-11 p.m. timeslot and topped the No. 2 show, Fox’s So You Think You Can Dance, by 36 percent in the 18-49 demographic. It also marks the 13th consecutive week that an original Lost episode has won its timeslot in the key demo. (An interesting side note: Lost gained 1 million viewers, from 11.7 million to 12.7 million, from start to finish last night.) More positive news about the finale viewership could come shortly when the network gets data on DVR playback. This season, Lost has seen its overall audience grow by 1.9 million viewers and jump 18 percent in adults-18-49 from its initial broadcast numbers through seven days of recorded DVR playback.

Now, the sobering news: last night’s finale is a far cry from season 1, when the May 25, 2005 season-ender attracted 20.7 million viewers and earned a 7.8 rating among adults 18-49. By season 2, the finale lured just 17.8 million viewers and earned a 7.6 rating. The season 3 finale dropped to 13.9 million and a 5.9 rating in 18-49. At least Lost appears to be holding steady with its current audience: Thursday’s finale attracted a 4.9 rating among 18-49, which is what the show had been averaging in previous weeks.   

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  • JD

    Why should anyone concern themselves with the ratings LOST gets? It’s not going to be canceled. We have two seasons left of what in my mind has been the greatest television show of this generation. Sure it has lost viewership due to the complexity of the storyline, time slot changes, etc. but it will always do 11-12 million viewers because at this point these 11-12 million people want to see it through to the end in 2010. Thank you LOST for giving me so much to “geek out” about last night and for the last 4 seasons.

  • Jonas

    Ratings are a thing of the past. What with DVR’s, streaming, etc. who really knows how many people are watching?

  • sari

    Lost is a good show but SO frustrating. Yesterday’s finale was 2 hours of nothingness. The TV equivalent of “Babel.”

  • Rob

    Lost is the most overrated show on television. I’m happy to see its viewership is continously dropping. I guarantee that in 2010, the show’s finale will be as hated as the “Sopranos” finale. This show is just a major build-up to disappointment.

  • Dave

    Hey Rob, why comment on a show you don’t like? Sounds like a hater to me.

  • vw

    ppl watch this show on ABC.com and dvd too so how can you track that. i know personally my best friend just got caught up this season and is a LOST addict now and has turned her daughter on to it as well. at least for the 12 mil of us out there we are devoted, hard core fans who want to see this thru the end. part of the reason viewers left was the lack of focus in season 3 but when the producers finalized an end game it was back! last night’s show was one of the best ever!! i think the american ppl overall want something dumbed down and mindless which this show never was and that’s the shame of it all. it’s great to finally have a show that is fully engaging and not just some mindless crap.

  • Dave

    But isn’t viewership down across the board? I think that softens the blow of “disappointing” ratings like these. Plus, what TV series gains viewers over the years? That pretty much never happens. I think as long as Lost is winning its time slot, it should be considered a high-performing series.

  • Tony

    How could anyone bash last nights finale’? What a brillantly told story again. The Lost season enders are like epic movies. Unreal story and a lot to keep you wanting more next year. People who are haters aren’t smart enough to understand the show or loyal enough to stick with a story. Go watch CSI Miami if you want everything tied in a nice bow each episode…mindless entertainment. As far as ratings. A serialized show like this will drop viewers each year. Factor into DVR usage, all shows on abc are free the next day and how many other shows have survived being in 5 different time slots in 4 seasons and still get very good ratings? This one!

  • Marian

    I can’t believe some of you think the finale was 2 hours of nothingness. It had intrigue, death, surprise, more questions. Some parts of the plot are hard to follow or understand but that’s part of the intrigue. I can’t wait until next season starts. I tape it while I’m watching for 2 reasons….I don’t usually stay up that late so I don’t want to take a chance of dozing off during a commercial AND it’s better watching it a 2nd time.

  • Molly

    Last night’s episode was what the show needed- an introduction to a fresh storyline.
    Winning the timeslot is still good news. It may be down from season 1 but aren’t most shows losing viewers?

  • lost on Weds

    I think the move to a new timeslot at a much later time is part of the problem. It’s hard to be up til 11pm when work comes at 6am. I’d like to see what the DVR/Tivo numbers are on this episode.

  • jjabramizeme

    LOST finales also tend to attract viewing parties — we had 10 people in my apartment last night but that’s only going to account for 1 view.

  • Tim

    Excellent season finale. Excellent season.
    Those who resent this show can’t handle the lack of continual closure. To those folks, I suggest ‘Law & Order’ or any of the CBS hour-long crime procedurals. This show is simply not for you.
    For the rest of us, this ride continues to thrill. I’m expecting a great Emmy year for this season too. Terrific writing and excellent acting this year, particularly from the actors portraying Sun (especially her – who knew she had all this in her?), Sayid, Kate and Ben.

  • Jamie

    Someone else wrote that Lost isn’t for people who need immediate gratification. It’s so true. Making a show that defies conventional TV structure in favor of something that evolves and may potentially turn off people who want a narrow premise that can be easily grasped – takes resolve and ratings to back it up. Thanks to ABC for backing this show in the fickle business that is television.

  • Lauren

    I had 6 people at my house and i know someone that had 8. That only counts for 2 views….it doesn’t matter how many viewers tuned it…lost is still great!

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