NBA Finals Clincher Keeps ABC on Top Despite NBC’s Big Week
The NBA Finals built to some gaudy numbers for its sixth and seventh games last week, putting ABC on top of the ratings heap in key demos for a third straight time. NBC also had a strong week, surging to a five-month high as its “The Voice” and “America’s Got Talent” were the top-rated entertainment series.
Also looking good competitively were Spanish-language networks Univision and Telemundo, with the former ranking third in young adults and the latter surging year to year and tying CBS for fifth.
Only two of the week’s top 20 programs in adults 18-49 were scripted: HBO’s “True Blood” at No. 10 (2.2/6) and a repeat of CBS’ “The Big Bang Theory” on Thursday (1.6/6).
Overall, according to Nielsen estimates for June 17-23, ABC led in adults 18-49 with a 2.4 rating/8 share to a 1.9/6 for NBC. They were well ahead of the rest of the pack, led by Univision (1.3/4), Fox (1.1/4) and CBS and Telemundo (0.8/3). ABC also prevailed by narrow margins over NBC in both adults 25-54 (2.6/8 to 2.4/7) and total viewers (6.9 million to 6.7 million).
At ABC, Game 6 of the NBA Finals dominated Tuesday (8.5/25 in 18-49, 20.64 million viewers overall) and then the numbers ballooned for Game 7 on Thursday (10.6/32 in 18-49, 26.32m) — TV’s top-rated program in both 18-49 and total viewers since ABC’s coverage of the Oscars in February.
Overall, this year’s Miami-San Antonio championship series finished up 5% from last year (Miami-Oklahoma City) and stands as the second most-watched NBA Finals since 2004.
ABC also saw good numbers on Friday for “20/20″ (1.5/5 in 18-49, 6.27m), which opened up a big lead on NBC’s competing news program “Rock Center” (0.9/3 in 18-49, 4.52m). In the key news demo of adults 25-54, “20/20″ was Friday’s No. 1 show for a second straight week (1.0/6) and racked up its best summer delivery in nearly three years (July 2010).
On Sunday, the net premiered its unscripted combo of the returning “Celebrity Wife Swap” (1.3/4 in 18-49, 4.45m) and the new “Whodunnit?” (1.3/4 in 18-49, 4.05m) — which received plenty of promotion during the NBA Finals — to pedestrian numbers.
NBC had its best showing since the January week that included the Golden Globes as “The Voice” had a strong two-hour finale on Tuesday (4.4 rating/12 share in adults 18-49, 15.59 million viewers overall). Despite facing the NBA Finals this time, the music competition matched its year-ago conclusion in 18-49 while surging to its largest overall audience to date for a finale.
Monday’s two-hour performance finale (3.7/11 in 18-49, 12.68m) and Tuesday’s “America’s Got Talent” (3.0/9 in 18-49, 11.75m) ranked second and third, respectively, among entertainment series.
Hockey’s Stanley Cup Finals put NBC on top both Wednesday with Game 4 (2.4/8 in 18-49, 6.46m) and Saturday with Game 5 (1.9/8 in 18-49, 5.63m).
The first-season finale of “Hannibal” (0.8/2 in 18-49, 1.98m) was up slightly week to week. The already low-rated show was unable to get much momentum down the stretch as this episode, as well as the two prior, went head to head with the NBA Finals in much of the country.
And Sunday saw a weak start for European-produced drama “Crossing Lines” (0.7/2 in 18-49, 4.38m).
Fox was led by “MasterChef” (averaging 2.2/7 in 18-49 and about 5.5 million viewers overall for its two hours) and “Hell’s Kitchen” (2.0/7 in 18-49, 5.19m).