Peacock's lottery drama pays off

The NBA Finals got off to a pretty good start for ABC on Thursday, but that didn’t keep NBC from cashing in solid numbers for new drama “Windfall.”

Although the broadcast nets haven’t exactly blazed a summer trail with original dramas over the years, “Windfall’s” demo delivery bested the bows of Fox’s “The OC” in 2003 and of every other scripted summer drama to preem in the past six years (excluding last year’s early fall launch of Fox’s “Prison Break”).

According to Nielsen, the lottery-winner tale averaged a 3.4 rating/10 share in adults 18-49 and 9.04 million viewers overall in the 10 o’clock hour. It ranked second to basketball in key demos, beating a repeat of CBS drama “Without a Trace” (3.0/8, 11.37m) in everything except total viewers.

Show, whose ensemble cast includes Jason Gedrick and Luke Perry, maintained its 18-49 rating in the second half-hour — a good sign — and its overall average repped a 55% improvement over what “ER” repeats had averaged in the time period over the prior two weeks (3.4 vs. 2.2).

Debut rating is also higher than those of the three midseason dramas NBC rolled out in 2006 (“Book of Daniel,” “Conviction” and “Heist”).

The last scripted summer drama to bow with a higher demo rating was NBC’s “Mysterious Ways” in 2000.

The NBA, meanwhile, continued its perky postseason (Daily Variety, May 25) with Game 1 of the Dallas Mavericks-Miami Heat championship series on ABC.

Contest, won by the Mavs, averaged a 4.8 rating/15 share in 18-49 and 11.51 million viewers overall from 9 to 11:58 p.m. ET — a 9% rise over last year’s sluggish Detroit-San Antonio Finals opener (4.4/14 in 18-49) and the second best Game 1 score in four years. It did a 21 share in men 18-34.

In Nielsen’s metered-market overnights, game earned a 32.7 household rating/51 share in the Dallas market and a 24.9/36 in Miami. It’s the first Finals appearance for both teams.

Also Thursday, Fox’s “So You Think You Can Dance” remained potent at 9 (4.1/12 in 18-49, 10.24m) despite a slight week-to-week falloff opposite basketball. It matched the hoops action in 18-49 and led in persons 12-34 (3.9/13).

But CBS isn’t doing much with its “Gameshow Marathon,” whose Thursday seg at 8 (1.9/6 in 18-49, 6.72m) ran third in 18-49 and tied for second in 25-54 (2.5/7). It was down about 15% in key categories vs. the previous week.

MTV’s “Movie Awards” (1.6/5, 3.22m from 9 to 11:16 p.m.) continued its slide, down 30% vs. last year in 18-49 and off 43% from 2004. Its 9 share in persons 12-34 was down from a 16 just two years ago.

And at 11 p.m., SoapNet was pleased with the third-season premiere of unscripted skein “I Wanna Be a Soap Star,” hosted by “All My Children” thesp Cameron Mathison. Its average of 314,000 viewers reps a roughly 60% rise over last year.

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