NBA finals give Peacock young-adult ratings win

NBC has won its fourth straight week in the most-prized advertiser ratings demo but now must be prepared to pass the torch until the Olympics.

The Peacock returned to the young-adults winners circle for the week of June 19-25, thanks to victories on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday. But with the NBA Finals in the books and no reality phenom to match the demo strength of entries on CBS or ABC, NBC figures to struggle in adults 18-49 until the Summer Games get under way in mid-September.

According to Nielsen, the Lakers’ title-clinching victory in Game 6 of the NBA Finals last Monday on NBC ranked as the No. 1 show of the week in adults 18-49 (10.0/29), edging CBS’ “Survivor” (9.8/33). The Eye’s summer hit nevertheless topped the week in total viewers (24.22 million), adults 18-34 (9.8/35) and adults 25-54 (10.2/32).

CBS won in homes (6.9/13) and total viewers (9.64 million) by narrow margins over NBC, its first victory in the latter category since December.

ABC’s first try with repeats of “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” proved a mixed bag: Quizzer skewed older than ever but still won or tied two of its three hours in adults 18-49.

Compared with its firstrun segs a week earlier, it was down in young adults by 41% on Tuesday and Sunday and by 34% on Thursday. Yet, because a repeat “Millionaire” still scores better adults 18-49 ratings than what ABC aired in these slots last summer, the Alphabet was able to maintain its year-ago adults 18-49 rating (3.0/10) and hold off CBS (2.9/9) for second place.

It was a good week for the WB netlet, which delivered its largest weekly audience of the postseason (2.54 million) — a 19% spike vs. the previous week. The Frog’s transformation into an all-comedy net on Sunday began successfully with the move of “Steve Harvey” and “Jamie Foxx” to the 8 and 9 p.m. anchor slots.

Netlet rival UPN, on the other hand, slipped to its smallest weekly audience (3.06 million) since last summer.

Broadcast nets’ adults 18-49 averages for the week of June 19-25: NBC, a 3.7 rating/12 share (down 10% in rating vs. a year ago); ABC, 3.0/10 (even); CBS, 2.9/9 (up 12%); Fox, 2.4/8 (down 14%); UPN, 1.3/4 (up 86%); the WB, 1.0/3 (down 23%); Pax, 0.3/1 (even).

In homes: CBS, 6.9/13 (even); NBC, 6.7/12 (down 7%); ABC, 6.3/12 (up 11%); Fox, 3.7/7 (down 12%); UPN, 2.0/4 (up 43%); the WB, 1.8/3 (down 22%); Pax, 0.9/2 (even).

Adults 18-49 averages for the top cable services: USA, 0.9/3 (down 10%), tied with HBO, 0.9/3 (-10%); TBS, 0.7/2 (even); TNT, 0.6/2 (down 14%), tied with Lifetime, 0.6/2 (up 50%).

Monday

ABC News’ “Search for Jesus” on June 26 delivered the largest aud for a Peter Jennings special (16.56 million) since an April 1993 report on the Waco raid. It also won each half-hour in adults 18-49, peaking at 10 with a 5.7/15.

The Alphabet won the night in viewers and demos with its biggest Monday gathering (13.91 million) since May 1 and best Monday adults 18-49 rating (4.6/14) in five weeks.

Sunday

NBC won its fourth straight Sunday in adults 18-49 (3.6/11) behind a repeat of the three-hour theatrical “Heat” (4.0/12) while CBS took the night in viewers (11.13 million) despite a fourth-place finish in the demo (2.7/8).

“Heat” gave the NBC Sunday pic franchise its largest margin of victory among adults 18-49 in the 10 p.m. hour (3 shares over ABC) since Dec. 26 (“While You Were Sleeping”).

An 8-10 p.m. comedy block, led by a “Jamie Foxx” repeat (2.91 million), helped the WB draw its largest Sunday crowd (2.21 million) since May 7. It could do even better with a stronger showing in the 9:30 slot than that turned in by “Mission Hill”; a firstrun seg of “Mission,” an animated laffer that was benched last fall after weak ratings, delivered 1.85 million viewers, losing 36% of its “Jamie Foxx” lead-in.

Saturday

The nets were bunched together in total viewers, with first-place ABC (6.39 million) finishing about half a million viewers ahead of fourth-place CBS (5.80 million). Fox won the night in young adults by 3 shares over NBC, with “Cops” and “America’s Most Wanted” easily winning their hours.

Friday

ABC took the night in adults 18-49 for the first time since April 7. The net was led by the 9:30 original episode of “Making the Band” (3.3/12), which won its half-hour in the demo by 3 shares over NBC’s “Dateline” (2.6/9). The seg, which revealed the five members of the band O-Town, delivered its best demo rating since its one-hour premiere in March and matched its best-ever women 18-34 rating (4.7/18). Its 28 share in female teens is also the best for any series this summer.

The Alphabet’s second “Summer Jam Concert,” featuring Christina Aguilera and Smash Mouth, among others, increased over last year by 24% in adults 18-34 (2.1/10 vs. 1.7/9) and by 6% in adults 18-49 (1.9/8 vs. 1.8/8).

NBC’s “Providence,” which had been on the sidelines for four weeks during the net’s coverage of the NBA playoffs, returned with weak numbers, including a fourth-place finish in adults 18-49 (1.6/7).

Thursday

NBC’s big night looked tired even opposite a repeat “Millionaire.” One year after winning this night by 7 shares in adults 18-49, the Peacock’s edge had been reduced to a single share.

The 9:30 “Millionaire” topped NBC’s “Just Shoot Me” by 82% in viewers (17.02 million vs. 9.35) and by 2% in adults 18-49 (4.7/14 vs. 4.6/14). And at 10, ABC newsmag “20/20 — Downtown” beat “ER” for the first time in adults 18-49 (4.4/14 vs. 3.7/12).

Repeat music specs featuring Britney Spears and Mariah Carey left Fox in fourth on the night in adults 18-49 (1.6/5), but they seemed to deplete UPN’s “WWF Smackdown” of some of its core teen audience; the wrestling series fell to its smallest viewer total (6.89 million) since Dec. 30.

Wednesday

“Survivor” continued to grow, improving on its previous scores for the third straight week (Daily Variety, June 26).

The series was so dominant that CBS won the night in viewers and adults 18-49 despite a major dropoff in the final two hours from the conclusion of repeat mini “True Women” (10.55 million, 3.3/10 in A18-49). The femme Western sent an incredible 83% of “Survivor’s” men 18-34 aud reaching for the remote at 9 p.m. (CBS fell to a 1.6/7 from a 9.2/36).

Fox’s struggling “Time of Your Life” went out with a whimper. It barely registered on Nielsen’s screen in female teens at 9 p.m. (0.2/1), half the rating of a repeat “Star Trek: Voyager” on UPN (0.4/2).

Tuesday

NBC took the night in adults 18-49, handing ABC only its second Tuesday loss in the demo in the last 25 weeks.

Key to the victory was a decisive win at 10 for NBC’s “Dateline” (5.1/16) over ABC’s “NYPD Blue” (2.3/7), whose repeats are taking a pounding this summer — perhaps because the rebroadcasts are of episodes that aired just a few months ago.

“Millionaire” won its hour by 6 shares in adults 18-49 with the show’s oldest-skewing seg yet. The median age of this repeat edition was 54.8, with more than 57% of its audience (8.88 million of 15.51) comprising viewers 50 and older.

Fox’s “Blockbuster Entertainment Awards” slipped by 34% in homes (4.3 vs. 6.5) and by 43% in adults 18-49 (2.5 vs. 4.4) compared with last year’s telecast on a Wednesday.

Monday

The Lakers’ victory over the Pacers on June 19 produced the biggest rating for an NBA playoff game (14.7/26 in homes) in the two years since Michael Jordan retired. NBC won the night by 6 shares in homes and by 10 shares in adults 18-49.

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