8.8 Million Watch Voyager Finale

By Christian
May 25, 2001 - 3:07 PM

8.8 Million viewers watched the Star Trek: Voyager finale on Wednesday, giving the series a highly successful send-off and securing its second consecutive year-to-year improvement in the all-important May Sweeps.

Final national ratings for the show were released late on Thursday, with 'Endgame' achieving a 5.5 rating / 9 share. The national ratings measure viewership in the entire United States, while the daily overnight ratings only measure the top 47 markets in the country. 'Endgame' achieved an 8.3 in the overnights (story), mostly because Voyager traditionally does well in urban markets - also an attractive target audience for advertisers.

The Voyager finale did well for most other important demographics as well, achieving a 4.6 rating / 13 share among persons aged 18-49, taking second place for the night in that group. It was the best-performing show in its timeslot for males aged 18-48 (5.8/17) and males aged 25-54 (5.8/16).

According to a report on Zap2It, the Voyager finale gave UPN its fifth highest rated night ever among persons aged 18-49 and its seventh highest rated night among households. Whether this is completely true is uncertain, as during its first season the show routinely achieved ratings that were at least 50% higher than those obtained by 'Endgame,' but it is certain that the network hasn't seen a night like this since 'Scorpion' kicked off the fourth season.

"First and foremost, the indicators from the Voyager wrap-up are that if we put the right kind of Star Trek programming on, there's great enthusiasm for it," UPN Entertainment President Tom Nunan told the Hollywood Reporter. "The Voyager finale bodes extremely well for Enterprise's premiere next fall."

Mostly thanks to 'Endgame,' Voyager also managed to gets its best May Sweeps results in three years, improving by 17% over the season six May Sweeps and by 21% over those of season five. Even without the season finale included in the mix, Voyager showed some improvement, with the first three May sweeps beating those from season six by 1% and those from season five by 4%. The May Sweeps are one of the most important ratings periods in the year, and the fact that Voyager has managed to achieve higher May Sweeps results for two years in a row now is a good sign.

For the full year, the results aren't quite as great, with the show achieving an average first-run rating of a 3.4, mostly due to the extremely weak performance this Winter. That rating means a 4% decline from the sixth season's ratings, which itself had already declined by 4% from the season five ratings. However, both drops are incomparable to the massive double-digit declines the show experienced during its first five seasons - it would appear that the Star Trek audience has finally stabilised.

In another way, Voyager also showed its strength this year. Not only was 'Endgame' the highest-rated episode since 'Scorpion, Part Two,' season opener 'Unimatrix Zero' also managed to beat any Voyager episode since 'Dark Frontier' in season five. Star Trek two-hour movies clearly remain able to drum up massive audience interest, with for instance all Borg movies achieving ratings that were 25% higher than the average rating of the season in which they aired. This means that the Enterprise two-hour premiere will also likely be able to achieve very high initial ratings - whether it will also be able keep the audience's interest after the premiere remains to be seen.

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