How I Met Your Mother Finale Soars

Record ratings, even if fans didn’t think the capper was legen … wait for it … dary

Pop quiz:

In the series finale of CBS’ How I Met Your Mother, the titular mom is revealed to be:

a) a MacGuffin

b) a red herring

c) the Yellow [Umbrella] King

d) a nice, limpid-eyed dead lady

e) a burlap sack full of hissing eels

Boy oh boy, did Craig Thomas and Carter Bays ever piss off Twitter last night. The creators of the popular sitcom, which for nine seasons chronicled the romantic foibles of five high-functioning alcoholics, threw fans a bit of an ontological curveball with the one-hour series finale. In doing so, Thomas and Bays opened themselves, and their show, up to a whole lot of this kind of thing.

Leaving aside the question of whether the HIMYM writers owed loyal viewers the ending they apparently thought they deserved—SPOILER ALERT: no one in this life owes you anything, you poopy-pants crybabies, and certainly not the people who bring you free, over-the-air television—the finale certainly out-delivered where it mattered most. According to Nielsen live-plus-same-day data, the one-hour HIMYM finale was watched by 13.1 million viewers and delivered a princely 5.4 among adults 18-49, making it the show’s all-time highest-rated episode.

The HIMYM finale put up big numbers across the board, serving up a series-high 5.8 rating among the 18-34 set while matching its best 25-54 delivery with a 5.4. 

Tne ninth and final season of HIMYM delivered an average audience of 8.67 million viewers per night and a 3.3 in the 18-49 demo. Season-to-date, it now stands as the No. 4 show on broadcast, trailing only The Big Bang Theory (5.2), The Voice (3.9 for both cycles) and Modern Family (3.7).

In bidding farewell to Ted, Robin, Barney, Marshall, Lily and the rest of the MacLaren’s elbow-benders, CBS offered the greatest possible lead-in for the new ensemble comedy, Friends With Better Lives. While the series bowed to a respectable 2.6 rating, that represented a loss of more than half (52 percent) of the 18-49 demo.

The Friends With Better Lives opener improved on the fall premiere of the doomed sitcom We Are Men (2.0) by a factor of 30 percent. 

On April 14, FWBL will lead out of 2 Broke Girls in its regular 8:30 p.m. time slot. (Next Monday’s regularly-scheduled CBS lineup will be pre-empted by the NCAA Div. I Men’s Basketball Championship Game.)

For all the GRPs HIMYM soaked up Monday night, it didn’t seem to have a significant impact on its rival programs. The first hour of NBC’s The Voice averaged a 3.1 rating in the dollar demo, down just 11 percent versus last week’s 3.5, while the 8-9 p.m. segment of ABC’s Dancing with the Stars was flat with a 2.2.

On Fox, Bones crept up 7 percent to a 1.5. At 9 p.m., The Following was flat with a 1.4.

Later in the night, CBS brought the curtain down on the Josh Holloway techno-thriller, Intelligence (aka, Google Glass™: The Series), which finished its run with a 1.2 rating. Over the course of its 13 episodes, the 10 p.m. series averaged 6.85 million viewers and a 1.3 in the 18-49 demo, giving it a negligible advantage over former time slot occupant Hostages (5.16 million/1.2).

Opposite Intelligence, NBC’s The Blacklist was flat versus last week (2.8). All told, The Voice and The Blacklist lifted NBC to another Monday ratings title (3.1), edging CBS (2.9). ABC (1.7) and Fox finished out of the money (1.5).