:: nielsen ratings
Example: 13.8 rating, 26 share, 1st (15th overall).
The first number (the rating) represents the number of households which
tuned in to watch that episode. Each rating point represents about
950,000 households.The second number (the share) is the percentage of households watching.
The third and fourth numbers tell how the episode fared against its
competition on the three other networks and against all of the other
programs shown for the week.
(The four major U.S. networks typically show a total of about 80-90
programs each week.)
So, in this case, the series finale of "MacGyver" drew about 13.1
million viewers. 26 percent of the television sets on at the time were
tuned to the show, which won its time slot and placed 15th for the week.
Part of the MacGyver FAQ