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ABC slam-dunks rivals

NBA Finals boosts Alphabet to an easy ratings victory

The opening game of the NBA Finals boosted ABC to an easy ratings victory in all key categories Thursday, although reliable numbers for the contest won’t be known until this afternoon. Also of note, Fox held tough with best-yet scores for “So You Think You Can Dance.”

According to preliminary nationals from Nielsen, ABC’s stations averaged a 4.5 rating/13 share in adults 18-49 and 11.2 million viewers overall from 9 to 11 p.m., with the game expected to rise noticeably in the nationals since the early numbers don’t reflect viewership in Los Angeles, where the game began shortly after 6 o’clock. In metered-market overnights, the Los Angeles Lakers’ victory over the Boston Celtics averaged a 10.4 household rating/17 share — up 17% from last year (when it was the Orlando Magic taking on the Lakers) and matching the 2008 Lakers-Celtics opener; the openers from each of the last two Finals have averaged a 5.4 rating in 18-49 and a little more than 13 million viewers overall.

ABC also aired a special game-night edition of “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” final ratings for which also will be released later Friday.

At Fox, “So You Think You Can Dance” averaged a hearty 3.2 rating/10 share in adults 18-49 and 8.5 million viewers overall, standing as easily the top non-sports program of the evening. This is the best the show has done since last summer, topping every episode of its initial fall season in 2009 as well as its first few installments of the current season.

CBS aired special repeats of Monday comedies “How I Met Your Mother” (1.1/4 in 18-49, 4.1 million viewers overall) and “Rules of Engagement” (1.3/4 in 18-49, 4.6 million viewers overall) followed by encores of its regular Thursday dramas “CSI” (1.5/4 in 18-49, 7.5 million viewers overall) and “The Mentalist” (1.8/5 in 18-49, 9.3 million viewers overall).

NBC went with repeats of its regular Thursday comedies “Community” (1.0/4 in 18-49, 3.1 million viewers overall), “The Office” (1.2/4 in 18-49, 2.8 million viewers overall) and “30 Rock” (1.2/4 in 18-49, 2.8 million viewers overall), as well as the second episode of firstrun half-hour “100 Questions” at 8:30 (0.9/3 in 18-49, 2.2 million viewers overall). The net also aired special repeats in the night’s closing hour, with “The Office” at 10 (1.4/4 in 18-49, 2.9 million viewers overall) and “Parks and Recreation” at 10:30 (1.2/4 in 18-49, 2.5 million viewers overall).

At CW, the premiere of former CBS vampire series “Moonlight” averaged a 0.5/2 in 18-49 and 1.4 million viewers overall, in line with its repeat lead-in from “The Vampire Diaries” (0.5/2 in 18-49, 1.3 million viewers overall).

Preliminary 18-49 averages for the night: ABC, 3.9/12; Fox, 3.2/10; CBS, 1.5/5; Univision, 1.4/4; NBC, 1.2/4; CW, 0.5/2.

In total viewers: ABC, 10.2 million; Fox, 8.5 million; CBS, 7.1 million; Univision, 3.5 million; NBC, 2.7 million; CW, 1.4 million.

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