NBA drives NBC to easy win; hockey hot for Fox

The strongest NBA playoff ratings in four years has fed NBC an easy lay-up of a victory in primetime Nielsens for the June 2-8 week.

CBS took a strong second in homes and third in adults 18-49 on the strength of the best “Tony Awards” rating in 10 years. The kudoscast, hosted by Rosie O’Donnell, was 48% above its 1996 (worst-ever) households rating and a phenomenal 81% above its year-ago adults 25-54 rating.

Fox’s hockey coverage also scored big year-to-year gains, as Saturday’s first match of the Stanley Cup playoffs earned the second-highest U.S. hockey rating in 17 years.

NBC’s pre-finals NBA Playoffs coverage wrapped last Thursday with a primetime average 11.4 rating, 21 share, up 2% over last year’s figure and the highest since 1993. Sunday’s first game of the NBA Finals slipped 6% below last year’s Wednesday opener in households but was up 4% in adults 18-49, for the best Game 1 result in four years.

Those big basketball numbers helped NBC survive a flat Saturday in which “Dark Skies” and “Bodysnatchers” equaled what’s apparently the lowest Saturday rating in Peacock history.

Last week’s adults 18-49 averages were: NBC, a 6.1 rating, 18 share (up in rating by 17% vs. results for the same week last year); ABC, 4.2/12 (down 14%); CBS, 3.5/10 (up 13%); Fox, 3.3/10 (up 6%); UPN, 1.7/5 (up 13%); WB, 1.0/3 (down 9%). This is NBC’s widest margin of victory in the key 18-49 demo since Feb. 17-23.

The Peacock won five nights of the week by this measure (losing only Friday and Saturday), its best perf since last summer’s Olympics.

Monday

Fox’s rerun of “‘Tombstone” (8.2 rating, 14 share) buried all competition for the 18-49 demo on Monday of this week. The Kurt Russell-Val Kilmer oater topped its firstrun rating from last September by a two-fisted 28%. CBS’ regulars (in repeats) took the night in homes.

ABC’s “World Music Awards” (6.3/11) continued its year-by-year tumble, this time down 28% from its 1996 tally. The show finished with less than half the 13.8/23 of its maiden telecast back in ’94.

NBC’s Monday “Dateline” (10.6/19) won the 10-11 p.m. hour by 4 shares in adults 18-49.

Sunday

Chicago-Utah basketball, featuring a buzzer-beating basket by Michael Jordan, led NBC to a 12-share margin of victory among adults 18-49.

“Men Behaving Badly,” being counted on this fall to anchor NBC’s Sunday lineup, showed promise despite an impossible 10:37 p.m. timeslot, holding 87% of its 18-49 lead-in from “3rd Rock from the Sun.”

CBS’ “‘Tony Awards” improved spectacularly over its results for both last year and the past decade. This year’s national rating failed to match the 11.2/17 overnight average in Nielsen’s metered markets, but the dropoff was fairly modest by the standards of the urban-skewing Tonys.

ABC’s two-hour premiere of the daytime soap “Port Charles” foundered in homes but managed a 16 share among women 18-49, second in the slot to NBC’s hoops and comedies.

Basketball bounced WB to its lowest Sunday rating since the Super Bowl.

Saturday

Viewers may finally be warming to Fox’s hockey coverage, which won the night in adults 18-49. In 1996, both primetime Stanley Cup telecasts finished fourth for their nights in adults 18-49.

This year’s Detroit-Philadelphia matchup skated 38% ahead of last year’s Game 1 rating in 18-49, which featured smaller-market teams repping Colorado and Florida. It was the second-highest-rated hockey telecast in the U.S. since May 24, 1980 (N.Y. Islanders-Philadelphia, CBS), behind only the ’96 all-star game (when Fox introed its “FoxTrax” glowing-puck visual effect).

Local preemptions for the Children’s Miracle Network Telethon ravaged hockey’s competition. CBS repeats won the night in homes and adults 25-54 despite its lowest Saturday rating since last Sept. 7.

Friday

Against weakened post-season competition, ABC jumped to its highest Friday rating in 10 weeks. Leading the surge was the top-rated “20/20” since Feb. 21. The ABC newsmag was boosted by an expose on food-stamp fraud.

Fox tumbled to its lowest Friday rating since last summer’s Olympics.

Thursday

NBC didn’t miss its regular 9-11 p.m. lineup much, as a dramatic series-deciding hoopcast soared 24% beyond the comparable year-ago households rating and lured the highest number of total viewers ever for an NBA Western Finals game.

With “ER” on the bench, though, CBS’ “48 Hours” scored its highest rating since Dec. 7, 1994 (with an episode on honesty, plus an update on killer tornadoes in Texas).

ABC’s three-part “Murder One” finished with a 6.7/12, an 18% improvement on its season average of 5.7/9. It was, however, just the 15th-highest-rated multiple-parter out of 16 aired by the nets since September.

Wednesday

NBC stuffed the competition with the highest-rated non-finals NBA telecast fully in primetime since June 4, 1993 (New York-Chicago). It was also NBC’s best Wednesday 18-49 share since last summer’s Olympics.

CBS’ “AFI Salute to Martin Scorsese” was brutalized by basketball, settling for less than half the rating of the year-ago tribute to Clint Eastwood. The Scorsese program was easily the least-watched of the last six AFI salutes, finishing 4 shares below the previous low.

Tuesday

Basketball dribbled off with a Tuesday win for NBC (Daily Variety, May 29). UPN’s “Moesha” won its slot among kids, teens and viewers 12-24.

Monday, May 26

Last Monday (May 26), NBC’s “Abducted” nabbed the nightlong victory (Daily Variety, May 29).

Each rating point represents an estimated 970,000 households, or 1% of the country’s TV homes. The share is the same sort of percentage, except that it’s measured against only the households in which TV is being watched during the timeslot involved.

More TV

  • HBO Documentary President Sheila Nevins Stepping

    HBO Documentary President Sheila Nevins Stepping Down

    The strongest NBA playoff ratings in four years has fed NBC an easy lay-up of a victory in primetime Nielsens for the June 2-8 week. CBS took a strong second in homes and third in adults 18-49 on the strength of the best “Tony Awards” rating in 10 years. The kudoscast, hosted by Rosie O’Donnell, […]

  • Disney-Fox Deal Sets Up Scramble for

    Disney-Fox Deal Unleashes Flood of Free-Agent Executives, Talent

    The strongest NBA playoff ratings in four years has fed NBC an easy lay-up of a victory in primetime Nielsens for the June 2-8 week. CBS took a strong second in homes and third in adults 18-49 on the strength of the best “Tony Awards” rating in 10 years. The kudoscast, hosted by Rosie O’Donnell, […]

  • Morgan Spurlock Sexual Misconduct

    Morgan Spurlock's TNT Series 'Who Rules the World' Halts Production

    The strongest NBA playoff ratings in four years has fed NBC an easy lay-up of a victory in primetime Nielsens for the June 2-8 week. CBS took a strong second in homes and third in adults 18-49 on the strength of the best “Tony Awards” rating in 10 years. The kudoscast, hosted by Rosie O’Donnell, […]

  • George Clooney Matt Charman

    Watergate Series in the Works at Netflix From George Clooney, Matt Charman

    The strongest NBA playoff ratings in four years has fed NBC an easy lay-up of a victory in primetime Nielsens for the June 2-8 week. CBS took a strong second in homes and third in adults 18-49 on the strength of the best “Tony Awards” rating in 10 years. The kudoscast, hosted by Rosie O’Donnell, […]

  • The Chi

    TV News Roundup: Showtime Offers Early Look at Series Premiere of 'The Chi'

    The strongest NBA playoff ratings in four years has fed NBC an easy lay-up of a victory in primetime Nielsens for the June 2-8 week. CBS took a strong second in homes and third in adults 18-49 on the strength of the best “Tony Awards” rating in 10 years. The kudoscast, hosted by Rosie O’Donnell, […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content