Poor Bachelor Ben.

If it wasn't spoilers threatening to ruin the latest edition of The Bachelor, then it was franchise-low TV ratings, not to mention extra-tough competition from The Voice.

Last night, Ben Flajnik had one more chance to redeem his season—and, oh, well… 

Per the early numbers, Monday's season closer, showcasing Flajnik's engagement to Courtney Robertson, will go down as the lowest-rated Bachelor season-closer ever among all-important adults 18-49.

Overall, the episode averaged 9.1 million viewers, putting it as the second-least-watched Bachelor finale on record. Only Brit Matt Grant, who starred in the reality series in 2008, drew a smaller Bachelor audience for a proposal.

So give Flajnik credit for dodging one bullet. And give him credit for this, too: He finished bigger than he started, and, relative to the weak season he'd had, he packed 'em in last night.

Even if he was poor Bachelor Ben. (Maybe next time he should try the Jimmy Kimmel "surprise" ending for real?)

Other TV ratings winners and losers, per the latest numbers and rankings:

The Voice: Last week's No. 1 show in the demo standings slipped a little last night: 14.3 million viewers, 5.1 rating among 18- to 49-year-olds. (First thought: Did The Bachelor turn the tables on Christina Aguilera and crew, and steal some of its viewers? Second thought: Nah, it was probably that old foe of live TV—daylight savings time.)   

• Sarah Palin: The former vice-presidential candidate was no fan of HBO's Game Change, but her protests got her press, and the fake version of herself (Julianne Moore) did well—the docudrama about the 2008 White House race averaged 2.1 million viewers for its Saturday premiere, the premium-cable channel's biggest audience for an original TV-movie since 2004.

• Tina Fey: As an added bonus for Palin, her old Saturday Night Live friend flailed in her latest 30 Rock outing: 3.5 million viewers, a paltry 1.4 demo rating. 

The Office: It's not what it used to be, but what it is (5 million viewers, 2.6 demo rating) is a miracle on NBC's otherwise-barely watched Thursday night.

Desperate Housewives: Spoiled or no, the Mike Delfino offing helped the soap return to the Top 20, with 8.4 million viewers, and helped GCB improve its demo rating from its premiere night. 

Breaking In: On one hand, its season premiere only scored 3.6 million viewers. On the other hand, that's pretty good for a show that was canceled last year.

The Walking Dead: The biggest shocker might be that Sunday's shocking storyline kill only scared up slightly more viewers for cable's No. 1 show, up to 6.9 million viewers from the previous week's 6.8 million viewers.

• Oprah Winfrey: Her big-get interview with Whitney Houston's daughter Bobbi Kristina got the big audience that the talk-queen's upstart OWN network has needed: 3.5 million viewers.

Here's a complete look at the TV week's top 10 most-watched broadcast shows:

  1. American Idol (Wednesday), 18.7 million viewers
  2. American Idol (Thursday), 17.3 million viewers
  3. The Voice, 16.8 million viewers
  4. Person of Interest, 15.7 million viewers
  5. The Big Bang Theory, 15 million viewers
  6. NCIS (rerun), 14.5 million viewers 
  7. The Mentalist (Thursday), 13.8 million viewers
  8. The Big Bang Theory (rerun), 12.4 million viewers
  9. NCIS: Los Angeles (rerun), 12.1 million viewers
  10. The Mentalist (Friday), 11.3 million viewers

(Originally published March 13, 2012, at 10:40 a.m.)

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