NBA scores Sunday win, but Peacock tops demo

The season finale of HBO’s “The Sopranos” was no ratings match for the NBA Finals on Sunday, but it whacked every other program during the week.

In the first full frame of the unofficial summer season, the fifth-season wrap of the mob drama ranked second to Game 1 of pro basketball’s championship series in all key adult demos — despite airing opposite each other.

Overall in primetime for the week of May 31-June 6, NBC prevailed in adults 18-49 (2.8/8), 1 share better than ABC, CBS and Fox, and also led in adults 25-54 (3.2/9), according to Nielsen. Fox was on top in adults 18-34 (2.4/9) and CBS drew the largest overall audience (8.2 million).

The WB, meanwhile, was the only net up vs. the same sesh a year ago, paced by a hot start for new drama “Summerland” (Daily Variety, June 3).

As for “The Sopranos,” it racked up its second-best numbers of the season (5.8/15 in 18-49, 10.98m), ranking No. 2 for the week among all primetime programs in 18-49 as well as adults 25-54 (6.5/15) and adults 18-34 (4.9/14).

It came in below its boffo premiere in March (6.2/15, 12.14m) as well as its most recent season finale in December 2002 (6.6/15 in 18-49, 12.5 million).

Topping “The Sopranos” in most key categories was ABC Sports’ coverage of Game 1 of the National Basketball Assn. Finals between the Los Angeles Lakers and Detroit Pistons (7.0/19 in 18-49, 15.36m), which delivered the best opening-game Nielsens for the Finals in three years.

It was up a big 75% in 18-49 vs. last year’s New Jersey Nets-San Antonio Spurs opener (4.0/13).

Elsewhere for ABC, Wednesday’s premiere of unscripted dating show “The Ultimate Love Test” was a disappointment (2.0/6 in 18-49, 4.72m), coming out of a fourth-place finish at 9:30 for the return of laffer “Drew Carey” (2.2/6 in 18-49, 5.28m).

Over at NBC, Tuesday’s “Miss Universe Pageant” (3.8/10 in 18-49, 10.48m) was down year-to-year but won its timeslot, and the season finale of “Crossing Jordan” performed well on Sunday (3.6/10 in 18-49, 11.60m).

New laffer “Come to Papa” performed credibly Thursday (2.9/10 in 18-49) between repeats of “Friends” (3.2/12) and “Will & Grace” (3.1/10).

CBS had four of the top six shows in both adults 18-49 and 25-54 (behind only the NBA and “The Sopranos”), led by Monday drama “CSI: Miami” (5.0/13 in 18-49, 14.15m) and Thursday’s “CSI” (4.7/14 in 18-49, 14.92m). And Monday laffer “Two and a Half Men” was the week’s top-rated laffer in both 18-49 (4.6/12) and 25-54 (5.7/13) for a second straight week.

Final numbers for the Tony Awards weren’t pretty (1.5/4 in 18-49, 6.46m), as it lost more than 1 million viewers from last year.

Fox, whose firstrun summer programming begins this week, enjoyed its biggest success on Wednesday with four episodes of “That ’70s Show,” which averaged a 3.4/11 in 18-49 — good enough to win the night.

The WB moved up to third for the week in females 12-34 (1.8/6, behind only NBC and Fox), as “Summerland” worked well both on Tuesday and in a repeat on Sunday. Net continues to draw small auds for Thursday music hour “Pepsi Smash” (0.7/3 in 18-49, 1.57m), and Monday’s “Superstar USA” (1.2/3 in 18-49, 2.51m) is bringing a male aud to the net but is not performing that well overall.

UPN had little to shout about, although Thursday’s “WWE Smackdown” (1.9/6 in 18-49, 5.12m) pinned down its best numbers in 10 weeks.

Big numbers for the concluding game of the NBA Western Conference finals on Monday (4.1/12 in 18-49, 9.44m) boosted TNT to another first-place finish among basic cablers for the week in 18-49, 25-54 and 18-34.

A&E also scored on Memorial Day with original pic “Ike: Countdown to D-Day,” the most-watched cable movie of the year (5.54 million) and the net’s top-rated program in 4½ years, but USA didn’t do much Wednesday with the preem of its made-for “The Last Ride” (0.7/2 in 18-49, 2.01m).

On Sunday, FX did a bit better with its pic “Meltdown” (0.9/3 in 18-49, 2.32m), and the season preem of USA skein “Dead Zone” notched a 1.1/3 in 18-49 and 2.64 million viewers.

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On Monday of the current week, CBS rolled with repeats of its regular lineup while the third installment of NBC’s “For Love or Money” (2.6/7 in 18-49, 6.26m) was bankrupt out of the gate. First two editions of the unscripted romance skein were among the hottest shows of last summer.

Game 7 of hockey’s Stanley Cup Finals on ABC (2.6/8 in 18-49, 6.29m) led the night in male demos, and things picked up a bit for the penultimate episode of the Frog’s “Superstar USA” (1.5/4 in 18-49, 3.07m).

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