Name three shows that scored bigger series-finale audiences than 24. Name three shows that scored bigger series-finale audiences than Law & Order. And explain why you shouldn't. Rub it in, that is.
The answers—and more questions—in the season's-almost-over TV ratings quiz:
1. OK, for fun and giggles, give us three legendary shows that went out with bigger bangs than last night's 24. If you said Jake and the Fatman, Nash Bridges and The Nanny, or a combo of nearly 100 other series, you'd be correct. (Here's Wikipedia's handy list to the most-watched series finales of all time.) For the record, Jack Bauer's final escape averaged an estimated 8.9 million, below its season average.
2. Do the same for Law & Order. If you said Martin, Ed and Caroline in the City, or a combo of slightly more than 100 other series, you'd be correct. For the record, L&O expired before an estimated 7.6 million, slightly above its season average.
3. Why can't 24 and L&O be compared to Jake and the Fatman, whatever that is? Apples and prehistoric oranges. A better comparison is how the shows did against last night's competition, and, frankly, they didn't do all that great. If not for Chuck being Chuck, i.e., fourth place, 24 would've brought up the rear opposite Dancing With the Stars (19.1 million), CBS' comedies, led by Two and a Half Men (15.4 million), and the first hour of The Bachelorette premiere (9.9 million). In the less-trafficked 10 p.m. hour, L&O ran third, or last, opposite CSI: Miami's season finale (12.4 million) and the second hour of The Bachelorette (8.4 million).
4. Which finale had the bigger body count: Lost or Grey's Anatomy? Grey's bagged the overall larger audience (15.2 million to Lost's 13.6 million), but Lost bagged more young adults (it was the week's top-rated scripted show in the 18-49 demo), and, of course, killed off more characters.
5. Is Bret Michaels really that cool, or is The Office really cooling? Hard to say, but the season closer of the Michaels-graced Celebrity Apprentice basically tied The Office's underwhelming finale for honors as NBC's top-rated 18-49 show of the week.
6. Is Dancing With the Stars really that cool, or is American Idol really cooling? Yes and no. In the latest Nielsen rankings, DWTS was the most-watched show for the fourth time in the last five weeks. But, barring the unexpected, Idol will retain its title as TV's most-watched show for the sixth straight season.
7. Traditionally speaking, when does the TV season end? Shortly after Crystal Bowersox is crowned Idol champ on Wednesday night.
Here's a look at the top 10 broadcast network shows for the week ended Sunday, per Nielsen Media Research: