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'Big Bang Theory' finale beats 'American Idol' season ender in the ratings

The 'Big Bang Theory' finale was the most-watched program in US television for May 16, with 'American Idol' following in second place. The 'Big Bang Theory' finale aired on CBS.

By Reuters / May 17, 2013

The 'Big Bang Theory' finale won the ratings night for May 16.

Monty Brinton/CBS Entertainment/AP

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LOS ANGELES

The number of Americans who watched vocal powerhouse Candice Glover win the "American Idol" title sank to 14.2 million, a decline of 31 percent from last year's record low, according to ratings data on Friday.

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The singing competition, now in Season 12, was once a TV industry juggernaut for Fox that brought in more than 30 million viewers for its finale in the peak years of 2006 and 2007.

On Thursday night, it was the second most-watched program on U.S. television, beat out by the season finale of CBS comedy "The Big Bang Theory" with 14.8 million viewers. It was also the first time an "Idol" finale failed to bring in 20 million viewers.

The finale audience declined 39 percent from last year in the 18-to-49 age group, the demographic advertisers covet most, according to data compiled by Nielsen.

The results come as a blow to "American Idol," which retooled its judges panel in an attempt to revive interest in the program.

Fox brought in high-priced talent with singers Mariah Carey, Nicki Minaj and Keith Urban, but the three failed to boost sagging ratings.

The show could see an all-new panel next season, as the last of the original judges, Randy Jackson, had already said this would be his final season on the show.

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