Almost 12 million people tuned into HBO Sunday night to see how things would turn out for America’s favorite mob family.
The Made in America finale of The Sopranos -- which sparked widespread viewer reaction and rants ranging from its relative lack of bloodshed and resolution to theories about what ultimately, or not, befell Tony Soprano and his immediate family -- drew 11.9 million viewers in its live 9 p.m.-10:05 p.m. window June 10, according to Nielsen Media Research data.
The 86th and last series installment of David Chase’s mob dramedy ranked as the second-most-watched Sopranos telecast since 2004, trailing only the season-five premiere on March 7 of that year, which garnered 12.1 million viewers. Nielsen changed its measurement system at the beginning of 2004 to exclude multiplex viewers.
The June 10 showing lured 7.3 million households in registering a 22.7 rating and 32 share within HBO’s universe, according to network officials.
HBO said that was nearly 50% higher than the average start -- live, plus same day -- rating for Sopranos Sunday premieres this season.
By way of contrast, the season-five premiere, entitled Two Tony’s, scored with 7.5 million households, equating to a 23.8 rating and 32 share within the premium network’s universe.
Two earlier Sopranos episodes evidently recorded higher Nielsen marks. The first episode of season four, For All Debts Public and Private, notched 7.9 million households, translating into 13.4 million viewers and a 23.3 rating and 31 share in HBO’s world Sept. 15, 2002.
According to a Disney ABC Cable Networks analysis of Nielsen data, the Dec. 8, 2002, fourth-season finale, Whitecaps, tallied nearly 12.5 million viewers -- a mark that included multiplex watchers.