Does ER do better in counties with universal health care?
Take a look at how the ER series finale fared in Canada compared to the U.S. The two hour finale of the long running medical drama scored 2.8 million viewers Thursday night on CTV ("total" viewers according to BBM NMR overnight estimates). That will vault it ahead of House (2.31 million) and American Idol (2.09 million) as the top-rated show of the week in Canada.
In the U.S., ER averaged 16.4 million over the two hour finale. That was good enough to win the night, but won't come close to winning the week, and was well down proportionally with how it did in Canada.
ER viewers stayed loyal in Canada, where the show was boosted in recent years behind CTV's stacked Thursday night schedule of CSI and Grey's Anatomy.
CTV was forced to bounce CSI out of simulcast Thursday night in order to accommodate the entire three hour ER farewell package. Still, CSI scored 1.92 million viewers at 7 p.m..
OTHER THURSDAY NIGHT NUMBERS: Survivor: Toucantins returns to Global's Thursday night with a strong 1,797,000 2+ commercial total. The Office (411,000), Da Kink in my Hair (179,000) and Life (332,000) had their tiki torches snuffed by ER.
Back-to-back Doc Zones (291,000 and 387,000) kept the lights on at CBC, with the News scoring 725,000 and The Hour sinking to 83,000.
Marc Berman, Mediaweek's "Programming Insider," provides this handy list of the highest rated TV series finales of all time. You can see ER's exit is at the bottom of this list, a factor of how much network TV has slipped in the past decade or two. Still, NBC says the ER finale is the highest-rated drama ender in 13 years, since Murder, She Wrote bowed out in 1996.
M*A*S*H (CBS) - Feb. 28, 1983: 60.2 rating
The Fugitive (ABC) - Aug. 29, 1967: 45.9
Cheers (NBC) - May 20, 1993: 45.5
Seinfeld (NBC) - May 14, 1998: 41.3
Magnum, P.I. (CBS) - May 1, 1988: 32.0
Friends (NBC) - May 6, 2004: 29.2
The Cosby Show (NBC) - April 30, 1992: 28.0
All in the Family (CBS) - April 8, 1979: 26.6
The Mary Tyler Moore Show (CBS): March 19, 1977: 25.5
Dallas (CBS) - May 3, 1991: 22.0
Home Improvement (ABC) - May 25, 1999: 21.6
Everybody Loves Raymond (CBS) - May 16, 2005: 20.2
Newhart (CBS) - May 21, 1990: 18.7
The Beverly Hillbillies (CBS) - March 23, 1971: 18.1
Gunsmoke (CBS) - March 31, 1975: 15.3
Hill Street Blues (NBC): May 12, 1987: 17.0
St. Elsewhere (NBC): May 25, 1988: 17.0
Frasier (NBC) - May 13, 2004: 16.3
L.A. Law (NBC) - May 19, 1994: 15.9
Roseanne (ABC) - May 20, 1997: 11.6
Will & Grace (NBC) - May 5, 2006: 11.5
ER (NBC) - April 2, 2009 10.3
Numbers are one thing, but the most satisfying series finale ever? Has to be Newhart, if just for that final fade out with Suzanne Pleshette in bed with Bob.