Survivor: The Australian Outback finale attracted major ratings, but was off by more than 15 million viewers from the final episode of the reality show's first installment last summer.
According to final national data from Nielsen Media Research, the two-hour final episode attracted 36.5 million viewers, a 15.9 rating/39 share in adults 18-49 and a 20.1/31 in households. The Aug. 23, 2000 final episode of the original Survivor averaged 51.7 million viewers - but was up against summer competition rather than a May sweep slate of original series on rival networks.
Survivor did crush the competition, including Friends (8-8:30 p.m. ET/PT), which averaged a well-below average 15.4 million viewers and a 7.5/21 in adults 18-49. The Survivor reunion show at 10 p.m. also topped NBC's E.R. by a wide margin. The reunion show averaged 28.6 million viewers and a 13.4/31 in adults 18-49. Top-rated E.R. dropped to 21.6 million and a 10.4/24 in adults 18-49.
Tennessee nurse Tina Wesson won the $1 million prize and CBS announced the third installment of the series will originate from Kenya in the fall. - Joe Schlosser