Web beats rivals by whopping 85%

HOLLYWOOD — Three big ratings scores from the NBA Finals helped NBC cruise past its repeat-ravaged rivals last week.

According to Nielsen, the Peacock net delivered its second largest weekly adults 18-49 rating since February (5.0/16) in topping second-place ABC and Fox (2.7 rating) by a commanding 85% — the largest winning margin for any net since NBC aired the Olympics last September. NBC also won easily in total viewers (besting runner-up CBS by more than 2 million) and became the first net since CBS during Super Bowl week to prevail in every key Nielsen breakdown.

The first three games of pro basketball’s championship series gave NBC decisive victories on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday and ranked as the week’s top programs in both adults 18-49 and total viewers. The hardwood action so dominated the week that the games even ranked as the frame’s top three programs in women 18-34.

Three of NBC’s Thursday comedies and Monday quiz show “Weakest Link” also finished in the top 10 in adults 18-49. Only a pair of comedies (CBS’ “Everybody Loves Raymond” at No. 8 and Fox’s “The Simpsons” at No. 10) kept NBC from sweeping the week’s top 10 programs in the demo.

Through three Finals games, the NBA on NBC is averaging 19.19 million viewers (up 23% vs. a year ago) and an 11.1 rating in men 18-49 (up 34%).

Elsewhere, “Kristin,” the first of two NBC comedies to premiere this month, bowed to mediocre ratings on Tuesday while burned-off firstrun episodes of previously unsuccessful series such as Fox’s “Freakylinks” and “Million Dollar Episodes,” CBS comedy “Ladies Man” and ABC reality series “Making the Band” failed to create much ratings heat either.

CBS placed second in total viewers as well as adults 25-54. It again claimed the week’s most-watched comedy (“Everybody Loves Raymond”), drama (“CSI: Crime Scene Investigation”) and newsmag (“48 Hours”), the latter of which won both its Monday and Thursday hours in total viewers and adults 25-54.

Fox was second in both adults 18-49 (tied with ABC) and adults 18-34. Male-skewing net’s sked, especially its Sunday lineup, was likely the most affected by NBC’s big hoops week.

ABC was held down by hockey’s Stanley Cup Finals on Monday and Thursday, but the sport’s deciding Game 7 made the net a winner on Saturday. Original segs of “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” placed fourth and fifth for the week in total viewers, but the net was represented by only one program among the week’s top 20 in adults 18-49 (“Dharma & Greg” at No. 13).

Sunday

Cable continued to chip away at the broadcast nets on this night behind movies like TNT’s theatrical “You’ve Got Mail” (3.99m) and A&E’s made-for “The Big Heist” (1.58m) and series like HBO’s “Sex and the City” (5.48m), “Arliss” (3.85m) and “Six Feet Under” (3.89m); latter was off by 22% from its strong week-earlier preem. Fox’s “The X-Files” (2.1/5 in A18-49) and ABC’s “Millionaire” (3.6/9) were off year-to-year by a troubling 38% and 56%, respectively.

A pair of one-hour specs — “Walt Disney World Summer Jam Concert” (1.0/4) and “Voyage to Atlantis: The Lost Empire” (2.2/6) — kept ABC in fourth place in adults 18-49 from 7-9 p.m., although their combined rating (1.6/5) is the best the net has managed in these hours in the three post-season Sundays.

CBS placed second in adults 18-49 from 9-11 with a repeat of “Something to Talk About” (3.7/10). Score tops those for some of the net’s firstrun minis this season, including “Blonde” (3.6/9) and “Haven” (2.7/6).

Saturday

ABC won the night in key demos with the seventh game of the Stanley Cup (6.95m, 3.2/12 in A18-49), while Fox’s reality staples won every half-hour in total viewers and boosted the net to second in 18-49 (2.8/11).

The hockey game ranked ninth among all primetime programs for the week in men 18-49 (4.3/17).

Friday

NBC crushed the competish behind Game 2 of the NBA Finals (18.72m, 8.5/27 in A18-49), which was up by 33% year-to-year in the demo.

A repeat of “Interview With the Vampire” helped UPN beat one of the major nets (Fox) on a Friday in adults 18-49 for the first time ever (1.4/5 vs. 1.3/5). The weblet placed second for its two-hour block in on the night in men 18-34 (1.5/6) and teens (1.8/8).

Original segs of “Making the Band” kept ABC in fourth place in viewers from 8-9, but it’s doing better in niche target demos — first in female teens (2.6/12) and second in women 18-34 (1.8/8). ABC was second on the night by most measures.

Thursday

CBS made it three straight victories on the night in total viewers, as “48 Hours” (12.48m) took advantage of its lack of newsmag competish on ABC to deliver another victory over “ER” (9.10m). At 8, though, “JAG” (7.50m) didn’t come close to what a pair of “Funny Flubs and Screw-Ups” specs delivered the previous two weeks.

NBC continued to take the night in adults 18-49, with its comedies each winning their half-hours. “Three Sisters” (4.2/14) retained a decent 84% of its “Friends” lead-in (5.0/18), the show’s best retention in three tries.

The “MTV Movie Awards” topped all the broadcast nets in adults 18-34 (5.0 rating), delivering year-to-year growth of 56%. In total viewers, its 6.37 million was up considerably from last year (5.10m) but down slightly from 1999 (6.56m).

Theatrical repeat “The Frighteners” gave Fox its best Thursday 18-49 rating (3.1/10) since Feb. 8 (“Stupid Behavior” spec) and its first second-place finish since Nov. 2 (“Surprise Wedding”).

Wednesday

Opening game of the NBA Finals helped NBC dominate, including by 8 shares over second-place ABC in adults 18-49 (Daily Variety, June 8).

Two special segs of “Whose Line Is It Anyway” performed well for ABC, winning the 8 p.m. hour in adults 18-49 (3.2/10).

Tuesday

ABC won for a 14th straight week in total viewers and edged out NBC in adults 18-49. In a battle of repeat comedies at 9, the Alphabet’s “Dharma & Greg” (9.73m, 4.2/12 in A18-49) topped the Peacock’s “Frasier” (8.37m, 3.4/10) for a second straight week.

New NBC laffer “Kristin” (2.9/9) got off to a decent start, improving slightly in key demos upon a special 8 p.m. seg of “Frasier.”

The WB enjoyed more success with its new movie night as “I Know What You Did Last Summer” helped the net win the night in teens (3.7/16) and finish third among persons 12-34 (2.4/8), ahead of both NBC and CBS.

Monday

A strong delivery by “48 Hours” at 10 (12.96m, 4.1/11 in A18-49) helped CBS clinch June 4, though NBC’s “Weakest Link” was the night’s top draw in adults 18-49 (5.0/13).

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