Ratings-wise, Dancing With the Stars Season 18 didn’t go out with a bang or a whimper. It went out pretty similar to how it came in.
Season 18's premiere episode had about 15.44 million viewers and a 2.6/7 rating/share in the adults 18-49 demographic. Monday night's Part 1 of the Finals had 15.66 million viewers and a 2.6/8 rating. That's good! Those are the second-highest numbers of the season, after Latin Night, which had 15.88 million viewers and a 2.6/7 rating.
So Monday’s Night 1 did very well, but what about the big Tuesday Finale? ABC shared preliminary numbers, which may be adjusted up. DWTS had 14.9 million viewers and a 2.4/7 rating/share. That may not be as high as Monday, but — as ABC boasted — up against the two-hour finale of NBC’s The Voice and part 1 of Fox’s American Idol finale, ABC finished as the most-watched TV network on the final Tuesday of the season.
They added, in the past, a DWTS finale has never faced a finale of The Voice. Head to head, DWTS outdrew The Voice by 3.3 million viewers (14.9 million vs. 11.6 million), and DWTS ranked #2 in the time period among all key adults (AD18-34/AD18-49/AD25-54).
Not that adults over 54 aren't "key," but the advertisers and networks are still behind the times when it comes to valuing "older" viewers. Change is slow, but it’ll come eventually.
ABC added that, despite facing The Voice, DWTS was up over last fall’s Season 17 Finale in total viewers (14.8 million on 11/26/13) and on par with last spring’s May finale (15.2 million on 5/21/13). Also, DWTS grew over the fall finale with adults 18-34 (+14%) and women 18-49 (+21%).
In past years, we've seen real mood swings with the numbers across DWTS seasons — like last spring's Season 16, which started with more than 17 million viewers, then dipped into the 13 millions, 2.1/6 ratings for most of the season before ending with 15 million. But Season 18 was pretty steady with just over 14 million viewers and around 2.3/6 in the ratings. The people who decided to watch stuck around for the duration — with a notable spike for Latin Night and notable drop for the next week's Dance Duel/Abby Lee show.
What does this mean for the future of DWTS? Hard to say. It will probably depend on which pros, judges, and celebs show up for Season 19. The fall 2014 season has already been given the green light for Mondays from 8 to 10 p.m., like this season. Also like the past two seasons, there will be no Tuesday Results Show. But at least it shows DWTS is still strong. After 18 seasons, DWTS was still the most watched TV show of the night, and out delivered the American Idol finale in the 18-49 demo, which still matters to The Powers That Be.
So back-pats all around. No one's going to buy a new yacht with these numbers, but a champagne pop wouldn't be out of order. Here's to even higher numbers in Season 19!
Source: TV By the Numbers