Viewers for Finals rematch top 2008 numbers

ABC Sports’ coverage of Game 1 of the NBA Finals between the Lakers and Celtics scored a strong 5.7 rating/18 share among adults 18-49, along with 14.1 million viewers overall — a bump from recent years, including the 2008 Lakers-Celtics matchup.

The Jeffrey Donovan starrer drew 10% more than its season premiere last summer and remains cable’s most-watched series. In the 18-49 demo, “Burn” scored 2.5 million viewers, a slight bump from a year ago.

The share and overall audience rose in comparison with the 2009 NBA Finals Game 1 on a Thursday almost exactly one year earlier between the Lakers and Orlando Magic (5.4/16, 13.0 million), as well as the 2008 Game 1 between the Lakers and Boston (5.4/17, 13.4 million). This was the most watched NBA Finals Game 1 since the Lakers played Detroit in 2004.

Thursday’s broadcast registered a 25.3 household rating/43 share in Los Angeles households, 19.1/34 in Boston.

ABC ended up with its highest rated summer Thursday since September 2005. A primetime Jimmy Kimmel special, airing at 8 p.m. on the East Coast and at various times in the West depending on the market, drew a 1.3 rating/5 share in the demo and 4.2 million overall.

Fox’s “So You Think You Can Dance” (3.3/11, 8.7 million) was Thursday’s most-watched non-sports broadcast.

In beginning its second season, net’s “Royal Pains” followed “Burn Notice” at 10 p.m. and drew 5.8 million total viewers Thursday, a 5% uptick.

Stuart Levine contributed to this report.

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