It's never easy to say goodbye to a beloved TV show, especially when it's been on the air for an entire decade. Such is the case with Hawaii Five-0, which is vacating the island after ten seasons on CBS. Originally set for a two-hour series finale, Hawaii Five-0 split things up due to scheduling changes, with the Chuck Norris-infused first half airing this past Friday. And guess what? The crime drama pulled in the biggest audience of the night, and hit its highest viewership in over two years!
That's right, Hawaii Five-0 is going out with pride – no, not NCIS: New Orleans' Dwayne Pride – with fans turning up in droves to catch Chuck Norris making his short-lived debut as the retired Sergeant Major Phillips. The episode, titled "A 'ohe ia e loa'a aku, he ulua kapapa no ka moana (He cannot be caught for he is an ulua fish of the deep ocean)," was watched by 8.21 million people on Friday night, according to ShowbuzzDaily, which is the largest audience Hawaii Five-0 has earned since Season 8's fifteenth episode, which aired on February 2, 2018. (8.56 million were watching that installment.)
In fact, the series penultimate episode is only the third Hawaii Five-0 ep since that point to hit the 8-million-viewer mark for a live broadcast. It even managed to top the crossover episode with Magnum P.I. that served as the midseason premiere in January of this year. So just in case anyone out there was engaging in thought experiments about whether Chuck Norris or Thomas Magnum would win in a showdown, Norris would take the crown hands down.
Hawaii Five-0 also impressed when it came to the key 18-49 age demographic, which isn't always the case with longtime CBS series. The pre-finale episode scored a solid 0.9 demo rating, which tied for highest of the night alongside ABC's Shark Tank. Both of those series also saw the numbers rise to a 1.4 rating when accounting for the slightly older 25-54 demo.
As far as how that demo rating stacks up to the recent past, it's the highest since Hawaii Five-0's midseason premiere in January, so it's not quite as big of a hallmark. That said, no other episodes this season hit the 0.9 rating mark beyond those two , and it hadn't happened before that since the episode that aired on March 9, 2019.
In the episode, the Five-0 take on a case that involves tracking down a former Marine who went AWOL (played by MacGyver's Lance Gross), which leads them to his former commanding officer Lee Phillips, played with bearded glory by Chuck Norris. No spoilers here, but Gross will be back in the proper series finale, while Norris presumably won't. That said, fans can look forward to William Sadler returning as John McGarrett and James Marsters reprising the role of Victor Hesse, as well as Mark Alan Dacascos' return as Wo Fat.
Could Hawaii Five-0's bloodied-up series finale reach even more people during the broadcast than Chuck Norris' episode? Perhaps, if Norris himself tunes in, since he counts as his own audience demographic. The fact that the coronavirus pandemic continues forcing people to stay inside likely only means good things for Hawaii Five-0's ratings.
Hawaii Five-0's finale, simply titled "Aloha (Goodbye)," airs on Friday, April 3, at 9:00 p.m. ET. While waiting, check out how the CBS drama finally pulled in Chuck Norris after years of wanting him involved.