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Home / TV ratings

NBA Finals TV viewership up slightly from last year

By Steven Herbert

Viewership for ABC’s coverage of the first two games the NBA Finals was up slightly from last year, when it drew the smallest audience when held during their customary time since 2007.

The two games between the Denver Nuggets and Miami Heat averaged 11.746 million viewers, according to live-plus-same-day figures released Tuesday by Nielsen. The first two games of last year’s Finals between the Boston Celtics and Golden State Warriors averaged 11.656 million viewers.

Denver’s 104-93 victory over Miami in Game 1 on Thursday averaged a combined 11.581 million viewers — 11.037 million on ABC, with the “Stephen A’s World” alternate presentation on ESPN averaging 544,000. The Heat’s 111-108 victory in Game 2 on Sunday averaged 11.91 million viewers, second among prime-time programs airing between May 29 and Sunday.

The week’s most-watched program was TNT’s coverage of Miami’s 103-84 victory over the Boston Celtics in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals May 29 which averaged 12 million viewers, the most for an Eastern Conference finals game on TNT and third-highest for any NBA game on TNT.

The series averaged 7.4 million viewers, the most for an Eastern Conference finals on TNT in a decade.

The most-watched nonsports program in the first full week of television’s summer season was the May 30 season premiere of NBC’s “America’s Got Talent,” which averaged 6.11 million viewers, fifth for the week, behind Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals, the two NBA Finals games and the 20-minute postgame show following Game 2 of the Finals.

The two NBA Finals games made ABC the most-watched network for the first time since it aired the Oscars on March 12, averaging 4.42 million viewers.

ABC’s most-watched nonsports program was a rerun of “Celebrity Wheel of Fortune,” which averaged 3.081 million viewers, 15th for the week and eighth among nonsports programs.

CBS averaged 2.85 million viewers to finish second after 11 consecutive first-place finishes, 14 in the previous 15 weeks and 16 in the previous 18. Its most-watched program was the 7 p.m. edition of “60 Minutes,” sixth for the week and second among nonsports programs, averaging 5.96 million viewers for two previously broadcast segments that were updated for the post-season edition.

NBC was third among the broadcast networks, averaging 2.33 million viewers.

CBS, ABC and NBC all aired 22 hours of prime-time programming.

Fox averaged 1.62 million viewers for its 15 hours, 37 minutes of prime-time programming. Its most-watched program for the second consecutive week was professional wrestling’s “WWE’s Friday Night Smackdown,” 27th for the week, averaging 2.563 million viewers.

The CW averaged 330,000 viewers for its 14 hours of programming. Its most-watched program for the second consecutive week was the superhero series “Superman & Lois,” which averaged 657,000 viewers, 134th among broadcast programs, two spots below the rerun of the 1960-68 CBS comedy “The Andy Griffith Show” which aired at 8 p.m. Friday on MeTV and averaged 673,000 viewers. Its overall rank was not available.

The 20 most-watched prime-time programs consisted of three NBA playoff games — two on ABC and one on TNT; three NBA postgame shows — two on ABC and one on TNT; two NBA pregame shows on ABC; “America’s Got Talent”; two editions of “60 Minutes” with previously broadcast segments that were updated for the post-season editions; reruns of six CBS scripted programs; reruns of the ABC alternative series “Celebrity Wheel of Fortune” and “Celebrity Family Feud”; and the NBC crime thriller “The Blacklist.”

TNT was the most-watched cable network for the seventh consecutive week thanks to its coverage of Game 7 of the NBA Eastern Conference finals and Game 1 of the NHL’s Stanley Cup Final, averaging 2.072 million viewers.

Fox News Channel was first in prime time among cable news networks for the 120th consecutive week and second among cable networks following five consecutive third-place finishes, averaging 1.338 million viewers.

MSNBC was third among cable networks after six consecutive fourth-place finishes, averaging 970,000 viewers.

CNN was 14th among cable networks, averaging 507,000 viewers, including trailing TLC (604,000), Food Network (553,000) and TBS (521,000).

The cable prime-time top 20 consisted of Game 7 of the NBA’s Eastern Conference finals and its pregame show; eight Fox News Channel political talk shows — four broadcasts of “Hannity,” three of “Fox News Tonight” hosted by Johnny Joey Jones and one of “The Ingraham Angle”; four MSNBC political talk shows — three editions of “The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell” and one of “Alex Wagner Tonight”; two NHL playoff games — one each on TNT and ESPN; Bravo’s look at the lives of restaurateur Lisa Vanderpump and her current and former staff at West Hollywood’s SUR, “Vanderpump Rules”; the first two hourlong segments of the USA Network professional wrestling show, “WWE Raw”; and ESPN’s “Sunday Night Baseball” game between the Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Yankees.

Netflix’s most-watched title for the second consecutive week was the Arnold Schwarzenegger-starring action comedy “FUBAR,” whose eight episodes were watched for 88.03 million hours in their first full week of release, nearly identical to the 88.94 million hours the previous week when they were available for four days.

Netflix’s most-watched film was the German-language action drama “Blood & Gold,” which was watched for 24.99 million hours in its first full week of release, 80.7% more than the 13.83 million hours it was watched the previous week when it was available for three days.

The most-watched Spanish-language program was the Tuesday episode of the Univision telenovela “El Amor Invencible,” which averaged 1.445 million viewers, 61st among broadcast programs. Its overall rank was not available.

Univision was the most-watched Spanish-language network for the 43rd consecutive week and 181st time in 183 weeks, averaging 990,000 viewers. Telemundo was second, averaging 660,000 viewers, followed by UniMas (360,000) and Estrella TV (100,000).

ABC’s “World News Tonight with David Muir” was the most-watched nightly newscast for the 235th time in 236 weeks, averaging 7.095 million viewers. “NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt” was second, averaging 5.796 million viewers. The “CBS Evening News with Norah O’Donnell” was third, averaging 4.368 million viewers.

The averages for all three newscasts omitted Memorial Day.

The week’s 10 most-watched prime-time programs were TNT’s coverage of Game 7 of the NBA’s Eastern Conference finals; ABC’s coverage of Games 2 and 1 of the NBA Finals; the 20-minute postgame show following Game 2 of the NBA Finals; “America’s Got Talent”; the 7 p.m. edition of “60 Minutes”; the seven-minute postgame show following Game 1 of the NBA Finals; the 62-minute edition of “Inside the NBA Playoffs” that followed Game 7 of the NBA’s Eastern Conference finals; the 8 p.m. edition of “60 Minutes”; and the 32-minute edition of “NBA Countdown” preceding Game 1 of the NBA Finals.

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