Bucks/76ers assists NBC to 18-49 win; 'CSI,' 'Raymond' power Eye

HOLLYWOOD — The season’s top-rated pro basketball playoff game helped NBC capture the week easily among key demo groups, while CBS returned to the top in total viewers behind the week’s No. 1 comedy, drama and newsmag.

According to Nielsen Media Research, the Peacock net won for a seventh straight week in adults 18-49, nabbing a season-high five nights and topping its closest competitor (CBS) by a season-best 39%. NBC also won the week by 2 shares in adults 25-54 and by 3 shares in adults 18-34 but was down in all categories vs. a year ago — when the same frame included one more (high-rated) NBA playoff game.

NBC claimed seven of the week’s top 10 programs in adults 18-49, led by Sunday’s Game 7 of the NBA’s Eastern Conference Finals between Milwaukee and Philadelphia (6.4/18), which finished first. Wednesday’s NBA playoff game also made the top 10, as did all four of the net’s Thursday laffers and its firstrun Monday quizzer “Weakest Link.”

CBS moved up to second in the key demo and was the week’s most-watched network overall for the seventh time in nine weeks.

Net’s “60 Minutes,” which dropped out of the top 10 this season for the first time in 24 years, returned to the top of the weekly charts for the first time since August 1999. An interview with the preacher daughter of Billy Graham helped attract an average of 14.86 million viewers, the most for the newsmag in six weeks.

CBS’s “Everybody Loves Raymond” (14.67 million viewers) was the week’s most-watched comedy, and its “CSI” was the top drama (13.83m).

Fox and ABC suffered through forgettable weeks. Former was dragged down by an AFI tribute to Barbra Streisand and the return of ineffectual firstrun series “Million Dollar Mysteries,” “Lone Gunmen” and “Freakylinks.” ABC’s week included two low-rated games from hockey’s Stanley Cup Finals as well as the Alma Awards.

The WB, with all-repeat lineups on five of its six nights, was the only network to improve year-to-year in both total viewers and key demos. Key to the gains was the debut of the Frog’s first-ever movie night, as the two-hour original drama/pilot of sister cabler TNT’s upcoming series “Witchblade” did very well on Tuesday.

UPN, boosted by the best numbers in eight weeks for Thursday’s “WWF Smackdown,” held flat in adults 18-49 vs. a year ago but was down in other key measures.

Monday

CBS rolled to victories across the board on June 4, including a narrow win in adults 18-49 over runner-up NBC. Newsmag “48 Hours” (12.96m, 4.1/11) dominated the night’s final hour, which included easier-than-usual competish due to ABC’s hockey game.

NBC’s “Weakest Link” was down week-to-week, but did win its 9 p.m. hour in adults 18-49 (5.0/13).

Sunday

NBC’s primetime Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals became the season’s top-rated NBA telecast (13.52m, 6.4/18 in A18-49). For its 30 pre-finals NBA playoff telecasts, the net averaged 7.05 million viewers (down 10% vs. last year) and a 4.4 rating among men 18-49 (down 6%).

The 55th annual Tony Awards telecast on CBS averaged 8.93 million viewers and a 2.5/6, gains of 5% and 20%, respectively, vs. last year. In most demos, the kudocast nabbed its best marks in three years even though it remained well behind NBC and ABC from 9-11.

Saturday

Fox took the night in adults 18-49, led by an original hour of “America’s Most Wanted” (2.9/10), and also won in total viewers (7.5 million) for just the second time since January.

Coverage of the Stanley Cup Finals grabbed an impressive 23.0/47 homes rating in Denver (home of the competing Avalanche) but left ABC fourth on the night in total viewers (3.52m) and adults 18-49 (1.7/6). Net did move up to second in all male demos.

Friday

NBC rolled to its easiest victory of the week in 18-49 (7 shares over each of the other three major nets) thanks to “Dateline” (3.3/12) and Game 6 of the NBA’s Eastern Finals (4.1/14).

Firstrun hours “Lone Gunmen” and “Freakylinks” netted a mere 1.7/6 adults 18-49 rating for Fox, landing it in fourth — even behind CBS’ two repeats of “Diagnosis Murder.”

ABC’s Alma Awards (4.11m, 1.4/5) improved slightly vs. a year ago.

Thursday

With “48 Hours” (10.90m) drawing a larger aud than NBC’s “ER” (9.52m) for the first time since July, CBS took the night in total viewers (12.2 million) and cut NBC’s lead in adults 18-49 to 3 shares (4.9/15 vs. 4.1/12). It’s CBS’ best Thursday 18-49 average without “Survivor” or sports since Nov. 25, 1999 (Shania Twain spec).

Eye’s “CSI” was the No. 1 show of the night in total viewers (13.83m) and adults 25-54 (5.9/15) while NBC’s “Friends” was tops in adults 18-49 (5.6/20) with the highest share for any program last week.

UPN, with “WWF Smackdown,” moved up to third in both total viewers (6.9 million) and 18-49 (2.8/9), second in adults 18-34 (3.3/11) and first in teens (5.1/20) and men 18-34 (4.4/15).

ABC’s hockey (1.7/6 in A18-49) and Fox’s AFI tribute to Barbra Streisand (1.3/4) were uncompetitive.

Wednesday

NBA playoffs boosted NBC past ABC in adults 18-49 (3.9/12 vs. 3.8/11), although the return of the latter’s “Vanished” did pretty well at 10 (3.8/11), ranking as the week’s top-rated newsmag in the demo.

CBS bombed with a Backstreet Boys spec (6.33m, 2.2/8 in A18-49), but a repeat of theatrical “Now and Then” gave it its best 18-49 rating for a Wednesday pic (3.5/10) since November’s “A Perfect Murder” and also helped it win the night in total viewers.

Return of “Million-Dollar Mysteries” didn’t do much for Fox, drawing the net’s lowest 18-49 score in the hour (2.2/6) since Nov. 29 (“The Street”).

Tuesday

“Witchblade,” the premiere movie on the WB’s new “Flix From the Frog” night, drew a larger audience (5.23m) and higher adults 18-49 rating (2.3/7) than every movie to air on UPN this season. It also improved upon the net’s regular season averages for “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and “Angel.”

NBC’s original “Dateline” won the 10 p.m. hour in adults 18-49 (3.3/9) even though the previous hour saw a repeat of the net’s “Frasier” (3.1/9) get thumped by a repeat of ABC’s “Dharma & Greg” (4.4/12). Peacock’s lineup was rushed into service after the NBA’s Western Conference Finals ended in four games.

Fox’s “That ’70s Show” was the night’s top show in all male demos.

CBS’ firstrun “60 Minutes II” won its hour in total viewers (9.35m) but was a lowly fifth in adults 18-49 (2.1/6), topping only UPN.

Monday

An NBA playoff overrun and a timeslot win for “Weakest Link” (5.4/14) helped NBC eke past CBS in adults 18-49 on May 28 (4.1/11 vs. 4.0/11) for its first victory on the night this season. CBS retained its status as the night’s most-watched net.

ABC’s “World Music Awards” grabbed its second best 18-49 rating in five years (3.6/9) and won its two-hour block in women 18-34 (4.3/13).

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