reports that as expected, Wednesday night's (Sept. 4) finale of "American Idol" drew huge ratings for the FOX network, with 22.8 million total viewers.

Over 40 million viewers watched all or part of the broadcast, making it FOX's most-watched series telecast ever. Excluding sports programming, Wednesday night's "American Idol" was also FOX's highest rated night ever among Adults 18 to 49 share and it's second highest ever in Total Viewers and Adults 18 to 49.

In the Nielsen final ratings and shares, the finale scored a 10.7/30 in Adults 18 to 49, a 12.2/35 in Adults 18 to 34 and a 10.3/33 in Teens 12 to 17, outperforming the combined programming of ABC, CBS and NBC on a total primetime basis. Wednesday's "American Idol" also drew 22.5 million in Persons 2+, topping the combined network total of 21.9 in that category.