UPDATED with fast nationals: Fueled by big turnout for Jimmy Kimmel’s passion project: Live in Front of a Studio Audience: Norman Lear’s “All in the Family” and “The Jeffersons,” ABC won the final night of the 2018-19 season by strong margins, beating runner-up NBC and its season finales of three Chicago dramas Wednesday by 600,000 viewers and three tenths in demo rating.
From 8-9:30 PM ET, ABC’s live, star-strewn Lear sitcoms reboot averaged 10.36 million viewers and a 1.7 demo rating to outstrip all broadcast primetime competition. That’s a six-month high for ABC in the 90-minute Wednesday time period, following the CMA Awards back in November. Excluding trophy shows, it’s ABC biggest haul since the first Wednesday night of the TV season.
At 10 PM, the finale of canceled Whiskey Cavalier (0.7, 3.80M) hung on to about half its lead-in, Nightline’s docu on Norman Lear (1.4, 7.93M) that followed the live comedy episodes redux.
NBC’s 10 PM Chicago P.D. (0.9, 6.55M) ranked No. 1 in both metrics; the network’s other two Chicago-set series, Med (1.1, 7.44M) and Fire (1.1, 7.46M), hung on to 100% of previous week’s demo data despite the Norman Lear competition.
CBS’ SEAL Team season wrapper (0.7, 4.21M) finished second in the final hour of primetime, after two hours of The Amazing Race (0.7, 4.00M).
ABC (1.3, 7.77M) marked its most-watched season-closing Wednesday since May 23, 2007. NBC (1.0, 7.15M) was its closest competitor on both counts, followed by CBS (0.8, 4.25M), Fox (0.6, 1.90M) and the CW (0.2, 950,000).
PREVIOUSLY, 6:35 AM: Jimmy Kimmel’s ambitious star-studded re-staging of two Norman Lear sitcoms dominated Wednesday primetime, scoring a metered-market 7.5 rating/13 share, where the previous week’s Toy Story 2 was hovering around 1.6/3.
The clunkily named Live in Front of a Studio Audience: Norman Lear’s All in the Family and The Jeffersons pushed the first two of NBC’s Chicago trilogy out of the top spot in their hours, according to very early data.
Starring Woody Harrelson, Marisa Tomei, Jamie Foxx, Wanda Sykes among many others, Kimmel’s 8-9:33 PM passion project scored biggest numbers in first half hour, 7.6/14, trickling down to 5.9/10 for its final few minutes. The broadcast ended at 9:33 PM ET.
Fans of Kimmel, Lear, the original comedies, live TV, etc. who tuned in were well treated to Jennifer Hudson’s belting out of The Jefferson’s “Movin On Up” theme song, Tomei’s spot-on Edith Bunker, and Marla Gibbs’ surprise appearance reprising her role as George and Louise Jefferson’s maid Florence Johnston. Foxx had a moment too, but that took flubbing a line and breaking up the cast as he broke character to address.
Anyway, all together, they did Whiskey Cavalier some good, too late – though maybe Whiskey‘s cliffhanger helped. The canceled ABC dramedy’s finale clocked an early 2.8 rating compared to the previous week’s 1.9.
ABC dominated primetime with a 5.6/10, ahead of NBC’s 5.0/9, with CBS (2.9/5), Fox (1.5/3) and CW (0.4/1) in their dust.