The renewal of the Los Angeles Lakers-Boston Celtics rivalry was not only a boon to the NBA, but ABC as well. Game one of the Finals knocked the competition around handily, while CBS “Swingtown” outdueled NBC’s “Fear Itself” in a battle of new show premieres.
The Celtics win posted a 5.4 rating/17 share in adults 18-49, 13.4 million viewers overall from 9-11:59 p.m. That’s up a substantial 54% in the demo and 4.1 million more viewers from the first game of last year’s NBA Finals between the Cleveland and San Antonio.
In the cities that had a vested interest in the game, the contest delivered a 22.8/40 household rating in Los Angeles and a 21.7/37 in Boston.
At the 8 o’clock hour, “Jimmy Kimmel Live” (2.9/10, 8.2 million viewers overall) served as a pregame fodder and narrowly defeated the first half-hour of Fox’s “So You Think You Can Dance” (2.8/10, 7.7 million viewers overall).
The 9 o’clock edition of “So You Think You Can Dance” (3.5/10, 9.7 million viewers overall) held a competitive second place to the game while NBC “Last Comic Standing” (2.4/7, 5.2 million viewers overall) edged a repeat of CBS powerhouse “CSI” (2.3/7, 9.4 million viewers overall).
Both NBC and CBS brass were much more interested in the 10 o’clock race than the results of the game, as each network had a new show premiering in the timeslot. Eye’s “Swingtown,” a wife-swapping drama set in the 1970s, earned a respectable 2.7/8, 8.5 million viewers overall, which was a 19% improvement off last Thursday’s “Without a Trace” repeat.
Horror anthology “Fear Itself” didn’t scare many viewers into watching as Peacock execs would’ve hoped, scoring a disappointing 2.0/6, 5.2 million viewers overall. That was on par with last week’s offerings of a “Last Comic Standing” at 10 and a repeat of “The Office” at 10:30.
Preliminary 18-49 averages for the night: ABC, 3.7/11; Fox, 3.3/10; CBS, 2.3/7; NBC, 2.1/6; Univision, 1.4/4; CW, 0.6/2.
In total viewers: ABC, 9.4 million; Fox. 9.0 million; CBS, 8.7 million; NBC, 5.0 million; Univision, 3.4 million; CW 1.7 million.