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NBA, ‘Stars’ boost ABC

Seven-game Finals extends Alphabet win streak

The NBA Finals may have tipped off tamely in the ratings, but its final two contests scored big for ABC last week, lifting the net to another primetime victory in key young-adult demos.

Alphabet net wasn’t all sports, though, as its hot “Dancing With the Stars” stands as the top-rated summer series in adults 18-49, 25-54 and total viewers.

Other firstrun fare performing well includes Fox’s “Family Guy” and “Hell’s Kitchen,” and the WB’s “Beauty and the Geek.” Not looking so good, meanwhile, are ABC’s “The Scholar” and CBS’ “The Cut,” both of which placed fourth in their timeslots — as did the premiere of NBC’s “I Want to Be a Hilton.”

Overall for the June 20-26 frame, according to Nielsen in-home viewing estimates, ABC rolled with a 2.6 rating/8 share in adults 18-49, comfortably ahead of the other, tightly bunched major nets: CBS and Fox (tied with a 2.1/7), and NBC (2.0/6).

ABC also won out in adults 25-54 (3.0/9), while CBS captured the week in total viewers (7.51 million). Fox remained on top for a fourth straight summer sesh in adults 18-34 (2.2/8), edging past ABC (2.1/8).

The three-week winning streak in adults 18-49 is ABC’s longest in the summer since 1999.

Leading the way were the final two games of the National Basketball Assn.’s Finals between the San Antonio Spurs and Detroit Pistons, with Thursday’s seventh and deciding contest in the series racking up the summer’s highest scores to date (7.6/23 in 18-49, 19 million viewers overall). Still, it came in well below the men’s college basketball championship game in April on CBS (8.7/22 in 18-49, 23.9 million viewers).

Tuesday’s Game 6 ranked second for the week in 18-49 (5.3/15, 13.47m), and “Dancing With the Stars” placed third (4.4/13, 15.52m), but first in women 18-49 (6.3/18).

Also solid for ABC was Sunday’s 9 o’clock repeat of “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” (3.5/10 in 18-49, 8.89m) and Friday’s “20/20” (2.5/9, 7.70m), which again stood as the week’s top regular newsmag in adults 25-54 (3.0/10).

At Fox, “Hell’s Kitchen” (3.2/9 in 18-49, 6.93m) dipped from the previous week’s series-best deliveries but still looks good, as does the net’s firstrun Sunday toon laffers “Family Guy” (3.8/11 in 18-49, 7.34m) and “American Dad” (3.2/8, 6.39m). Also of note was Monday’s repeat of “Nanny 911” (2.3/8, 5.85m), which outperformed a repeat of NBC’s “Fear Factor” (1.9/6, 4.78m).

On the other hand, repeats of “The OC” are tanking on Thursday (1.0/3 in 18-49) and the net’s cop drama “The Inside” isn’t doing much Wednesday (1.6/5 in 18-49, 3.86m).

CBS, paced as usual by a repeat “CSI” (3.6/11 in 18-49, 12.28m), was again weighed down by the crime drama’s Thursday lead-in, “The Cut” (1.5/5 in 18-49, 4.67m). Fashion skein is delivering all-time demo lows for CBS in the 8 o’clock hour (a tick below a 1.6 rating for a “Diagnosis Murder” repeat in June 2000).

Net’s latest American Film Institute spec, “100 Years … 100 Quotes” delivered solid second-place scores on Tuesday (2.8/8, 9.00m).

NBC did OK but was nothing special with Tuesday’s Katie Couric “Dateline” interview with “runaway bride” Jennifer Wilbanks (2.7/9 in 18-49, 8.69m), and lead-out “I Want to Be a Hilton” failed to excite the masses with its preem (2.5/7, 6.75m).

UPN topped the WB across the board, with the former led by Thursday’s “WWE Smackdown” (2.1/7 in 18-49, 5.44m) and the latter by Wednesday’s “Beauty and the Geek” (1.8/6, 3.85m). “Beauty” won its hour in all 18-34 and 12-34 demos, hitting a series high in teens (2.2/11).

Wrestling also performed well for Spike, with Monday’s 10 o’clock WWE series standing as ad-supported cable’s top-rated primetime program of the week in 18-49 (2.1/6).

TNT led in 18-49 (0.9/3), 25-54 (1.1/3) and total viewers (3.05 million), paced by the continuing “Into the West” and a nice week-two delivery for original crime drama “The Closer” (1.5/4 in 18-49, 5.57m).

Frame’s top scripted cable series in 18-49 were USA’s Sunday tandem of “The 4400” (1.7/5) and “The Dead Zone” (1.6/4), followed closely by “The Closer” and FX’s second-season preem of “Rescue Me” (both 1.5/4).

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