The final ratings are in for the finale of the fifth edition of CBS's suddenly hit The Amazing Race reality series -- and for CBS, the results were truly nothing short of amazing.

According to the final Nielsen national ratings for September 21, Tuesday's two-hour The Amazing Race 5 finale averaged 12.85 million viewers and posted an 8.2/13 rating/share in households, a 4.9/14 in the Adults 18-34 demographic, a 5.6/14 in Adults 18-49 and a 6.2/14 in Adults 25-54.

Despite airing versus the new fall schedules of several other networks, the performance ranked The Amazing Race 5 finale finished first in its 9-11PM ET/PT time period among viewers, households, Adults 18-34, Adults 18-49 and Adults 25-54. The finale also finished as the evening's top-rated broadcast among the Adults 18-34, Adults 18-49 and Adults 25-54 demographics that are craved by advertisers.

Compared to last summer's finale of The Amazing Race 4 on August 21, 2003, The Amazing Race 5's finale was up 30% in households (from 6.3/11), 38% in Adults 25-54 (from 4.5/13), 51% in Adults 18-49 (from 3.7/12), 81% in Adults 18-34 (from 2.7/10) and drew 2.97 million more viewers (from 9.88 million).

The finale delivered the best household performance ever for a regularly scheduled The Amazing Race episode, trailing only a March 20, 2002 broadcast that had the benefit of a Survivor lead-in (due to Survivor's annual two-week move to Wednesdays during CBS's traditional NCAA college basketball "March Madness" broadcasts.) The TAR5 finale also drew the reality series' second best Adults 18-34 and Adults 25-54 delivery, trailing the same March 20, 2002 broadcast and tying for second place with the previous week's March 13, 2002 episode that also had the benefit of a Survivor lead-in due to the network's NCAA basketball tournament coverage. The finale also delivered the program's third best Adults 18-49 delivery, once again ranking only behind the previously mentioned two March 2002 broadcasts.

Together with the season finale of CBS's Big Brother 5 that aired at 8PM ET/PT, The Amazing Race 5's performance resulted in CBS placing first for the evening in viewers (12.08 million), households (7.7/12), Adults 18-34 (4.4/13), Adults 18-49 (5.1/14) and Adults 25-54 (5.7/14) and winning every half hour in Adults 18-49, Adults 25-54 and Adults 18-34.

CBS's performance, coming during the Tuesday evening of the first official week of the 2004-2005 Nielsen ratings year, gave the network its first premiere Tuesday win among viewers since 2002, but more notable was the network's performances among key demographics, where CBS finished first among Adults 18-49 and Adults 25-54 for the first time since 1990 and first in the Adults 18-34 for the first time since Nielsen began tracking such statistics in 1987 via the introduction of its people meters system.

The sixth edition of The Amazing Race was originally scheduled to premiere on September 25 and air weekly on Saturday evenings throughout the fall. However, once it became apparent that this summer's edition of the series had finally achieved the ratings success that had consistently previously eluded the critically-acclaimed and Emmy Award-winning but ratings-challenged series, CBS announced that The Amazing Race 6 would be delayed until later this fall, with media analysts speculating that the network hopes to reschedule the series as a weeknight replacement for its first new fall schedule casualty.