About 5 million people tuned in to the premiere telecast of the Burn Notice series finale last night at 9 PM — the USA Network show’s biggest audience in more than a year. That’s 1 million+ viewers stronger than the drama series’ penultimate episode last week. About 1.6 million of the crowd who came to say goodbye after seven seasons were 18-49 year olds. It was the night’s second-most-watched cable program, behind only NFL Network’s New England Patriots vs New York Jets football game — that clocked 8.8 million viewers. In its time slot, Burn Notice‘s swan-song snagged a larger audience than anything on broadcast TV except CBS’ Big Brother. Burn Notice is one of only three USA series to pass the 100-episode mark that makes syndicators so happy, putting it in company with Monk and Psych.
USA’s record-best series finale remains Monk’s which attracted an average of 9.4 million viewers, 3.2 million in the demo. The Burn finale also will not set a series record. The show’s August 2009 midseason finale logged 9 million viewers when Live+7 viewing was tallied. That episode had scored 7.6 million in Live+Same Day. (Illustrative of how valuable Burn Notice, created by Matt Nix, was to the network as a launchpad for new series, that night’s episode fueled what was then the network’s newest original series Royal Pains — it nabbed 8.2 million viewers.)