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HBO Sunday: Sopranos Soars, John From Cincinnati Flounders

The Sopranos went out with a bang for HBO, drawing nearly 12 million viewers to its final episode on Sunday night (June 10). The hour-long episode averaged 11.9 million total viewers and 7.09 million adults 18-49 at 9 p.m., according to Nielsen Media Research.

More important for HBO going forward, its new drama John From Cincinnati averaged 3.4 million viewers and 1.9 million adults 18-49 following The Sopranos at 10 p.m., retaining just 29% of the viewers (27% in the 18-49 demo) from its lead-in. While 3.4 million viewers is a very good number for a cable original, especially for HBO since the pay-cable network is only carried in less than one-third of TV households, the huge drop-off isn't a good sign for the show.

The Sopranos
episode averaged a 7.2 household rating, which means it pulled in about 22% of the 31.2 million HBO reaches - a very solid showing. It was the series' most-viewed episode since the season five premiere, which drew 12.14 million viewers in March, 2004.

Of the show's eight years, this one ranked fifth, with an average 8.23 million total viewers (4.98 million adults 18-49) per episode. Season four ranked first, with an average 11 million total viewers (7.56 million adults 18-49). 

The Sopranos
faced competition from the Tony Awards on CBS, which averaged 6.2 million viewers during the 9 p.m. hour of its three-hour telecast; game two of the NBA finals on ABC, which averaged 8.4 million viewers at 9; a Friday Night Lights rerun on NBC, which drew 3.5 million; and a Family Guy repeat and new episode of The Loop on Fox, which averaged 4.1 million for the hour.