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TV ratings: 'How I Met Your Mother' ends with series high

TelevisionEntertainmentHow I Met Your Mother (tv program)The Following (tv program)Dancing With the Stars (tv program)

"How I Met Your Mother" went out with a ratings bang Monday night. 

The CBS sitcom that for nine years followed a man's long search for a wife ended with its highest ratings ever, averaging more than 12.9 million viewers, according to early numbers from Nielsen. 

Among key 18- to 49-year-old viewers, for whom advertisers pay a premium, the final episode drew a rating of 5.3, also a series best. (A ratings point in 18-49 equals about 1.3 million viewers.)

RELATED: 'How I Met Your Mother' finale - Producer reveals storytelling secrets

The hourlong farewell episode was easily the highest-rated show of the night in the 18-49 category and was second in overall viewership to ABC's "Dancing With the Stars," which averaged 13.7 million total viewers.

The comedy has delivered strong numbers for CBS over its nine seasons and has spawned an upcoming spinoff called "How I Met Your Dad" starring Greta Gerwig. 

CBS used the much-anticipated closer to launch the new "Friends With Better Lives," which pulled in about 8 million viewers and a rating of 2.7 in 18-49. "Mom" and "Intelligence" were both up week-to-week.

On NBC, "The Voice" fell 8% from a week ago to a 3.4, while "The Blacklist" was flat at 2.8. On average, NBC was the night's highest-rated network. 

Fox's "Bones" rose 7% to 1.5 and "The Following" was flat at 1.4. 

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ryan.faughnder@latimes.com

Twitter: @rfaughnder

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TelevisionEntertainmentHow I Met Your Mother (tv program)The Following (tv program)Dancing With the Stars (tv program)
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