Alphabet nets victory

Hoops beat Hilton, runaway bride in ratings

Viewers weren’t anxious to catch up with the “runaway bride” Tuesday night and also passed on being a “Hilton” in what was a rather quiet evening for network TV.

ABC won the night (9.1 million viewers, 3.4 rating/10 share among adults 18-49) thanks to Game 6 of the NBA Finals, in which Detroit pistol-whipped San Antonio and forced the first NBA Final Game 7 since 1994.

CBS was second for the night in both viewers (9 million) and 18-49 (2.8/8) thanks to the special “AFI’s 100 Years … 100 Quotes.”

Katie Couric’s special “Dateline NBC” gabfest with wedding dodger Jennifer Wilbanks attracted 8.7 million viewers and a 2.7/9 in the demo. That gave the Peacock a win for the hour but didn’t come close to how exclusive interviews with newsmakers usually fare.

“Dateline” was followed by the launch of Peacock reality entry “I Want to Be a Hilton,” which averaged just 6.8 million viewers and a 2.5/7 in the demo, landing it in fourth place (behind the NBA Finals, a repeat of Fox’s “House” and CBS’ AFI special).

“Hilton” managed to improve the timeslot’s post-May performance but was down 34% from what “Last Comic Standing” averaged in the hour last summer (3.8/11).

NBC wound up third for the night in viewers (8 million) and tied with Fox (which aired two hours of repeats) in adults 18-49 (2.6/8).

As for the NBA Finals, the game itself averaged 13.5 million viewers and a 5.3 rating/15 share in the adults 18-49 demo, the largest audience for the series so far (but second in the demo to Sunday night’s game).

Tuesday’s faceoff was up from Game 6 in 2003 (last year’s finals ended in Game 5), when the New Jersey-San Antonio matchup averaged a 4.6/14 in the demo. But through six games, this year’s NBA Finals (4.8/14) is far below last year’s five-game series (7.9/23) in the demo.

On the cable beat, Tuesday night’s second-season premiere of FX’s “Rescue Me” averaged 2.9 million viewers as well as a 1.5 rating/4 share (or 1.9 million viewers) in adults 18-49. Show’s household rating was up, and its demo number was on par with its season-one average despite tough male-oriented NBA competish, but down from its first-season premiere.

MTV’s 16th-season premiere of “The Real World” was tops Tuesday among basic cablers in adults 18-49, averaging 2.4 million viewers in the demo. The series, set in Austin, Texas, this time, posted 3.7 million viewers overall.

ABC Family was high on the Monday night preem of original series “Wildfire.” Two-hour debut pulled the cabler’s best series premiere numbers ever, averaging nearly 2 million viewers and a 0.5 rating/2 share in its target 18-34 aud.

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