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Oprah Finale Ratings Are In—Just How Big Was It?

Oprah Winfrey AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast

You watched it. Your coworker watched it. You know your mom watched it. But just how many other Americans tuned in to watch Oprah Winfrey issue an emotional—and, incidentally, rather educational—goodbye last month?

Well, the ratings figures are in for the final Oprah Winfrey Show. So, how'd she do? And did her swan song manage to become her highest-rated episode in all 25 years on air?

The answers, respectively: really great. And, no.

According to Nielsen, the May 23 finale episode of the daytime institution drew in a whopping 16.4 million viewers, not only putting it leagues above normal daytime numbers, but besting most prime-time fare, as well.

Want some comparisons? Here you go: just this week, NBC's much-lauded The Voice scored its best ratings yet, with 14.4 million viewers. Still less than Oprah got. America's Got Talent, too,  made records this week, airing its biggest season-opener ever, with 15.3 million viewers. Also less than Oprah. And as for those watercooler moments provided by the MTV Movie Awards? Well, those earned just 4.5 million viewers. Way less than Oprah.

Want some finale history context? She also beat the series finales of Lost (just 12.7 million).

Somewhat ironically, Oprah's ratings, while extraordinarily massive, weren't her highest ever. Guess Oprah's biggest competition really always has been herself.

Turns out, the honor of going down in history as Winfrey's most-watched episode ever goes to an episode that aired in 1993 titled "Why I Love Older Women." That drew a whopping (especially for 1993) 17.3 million viewers. All that without the help of a wagon full of fat. (And long before anyone had ever used the word "cougar" outside the context of the animal world. That Oprah, always head of her time.)

Meanwhile, Oprah undoubtedly ended her series on a high, averaging 8.2 million viewers throughout the month of May. Her two star-studded penultimate surprise episodes, meanwhile, averaged 12.3 and 13 million viewers, respectively.

Way to go out on a high, O.

PHOTOS: Oprah's Star-Studded Finale

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