NBA Finals dunk competition

ABC rolls behind first three games of series

ABC cruised to a primetime ratings victory last week behind the opening three games of the NBA Finals and a solid start for the summer’s first new broadcast show.

The series between the Miami Heat and Dallas Mavericks is tracking at a seven-year high for the Finals, with all three contests topping the 15 million viewer mark, according to Nielsen.

Also, the net’s “Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition” opened a winner Monday, faring especially well for a 10 p.m. bow.

Meanwhile, NBC claimed the week’s top two non-sports shows with hot reality contests “The Voice” and “America’s Got Talent.”

Overall for the May 30-June 5 frame, the first week of TV’s 14-week summer season, ABC led in adults 18-49 with a 2.9 rating/9 share, well ahead of runner-up NBC (1.7/5). Fox and Univision tied for third (1.5/5), followed by CBS (1.2/4) and top cabler USA (0.9/2).

ABC also led with ease in adults 25-54 (3.1/9) and total viewers (7.7 million to 6.6 million for usual leader CBS).

For the Alphabet, the NBA Finals dominated on Tuesday (6.5/18 in 18-49, 15.28m), Thursday (6.5/19, 15.52m) and Sunday (6.1/17, 15.34m). And through three games, the series is trending slightly above last year’s popular Lakers-Celtics matchup for the best averages since 2004.

Compared to when Miami and Dallas met in the 2006 Finals, this year’s pairing is up by more than 25% in both 18-49 (6.4/18 vs. 5.0/15) and total viewers (15.3 million vs. 12.1 million).

On the entertainment side, ABC’s only real success came Monday, where the debut of “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” (2.4/6, 7.11m) built slightly in demo rating on its lead-in from “The Bachelorette” (2.2/6, 7.23m). The 2.4 tops every new ABC show from last summer.

Elsewhere, NBC had a good counter to hoops action Tuesday with the season preem of “America’s Got Talent” (4.3/12, 15.28m), which logged its best demo preem score in four years, and “The Voice” (4.9/13, 14.41m), which belted out its highest notes in four weeks.

Fox was mostly repeats besides “So You Think You Can Dance” on Wednesday (3.1/9, 8.57m) and Thursday (2.9/10, 8.06m), while CBS got off to its typically slow summer start and was led by a repeat of “The Big Bang Theory” (2.0/7, 7.42m).

Spanish-language Telemundo’s finale of novela “La Reina del Sur” (Queen of the South) on Monday became the most-watched program in the network’s 19-year history (2.1/5 in 18-49, 4.19m). It was the No. 1 broadcast program in its slot — English or Spanish — among men 18-49 and adults 18-34.

In cable, USA was back on top behind “WWE Raw” (1.8/5, 4.87m), but History ran a solid second thanks mostly to “Pawn Stars” (1.9/5 in 18-49, 5.20m), original special “Gettysburg” (1.1/3, 3.80m) and a good fifth-season launch for “Ice Road Truckers” (1.1/3, 3.06m), which was up by 20% or more in key categories vs. last year’s opener.

The “MTV Movie Awards” (1.9/5 in 18-49, 4.51m) came in down slightly from last year but still lagged only basketball in 18-49 for its two-hour Sunday block.

Also Sunday, A&E’s second-season premiere of drama “The Glades” (1.0/3, 3.01m) was up vs. its year-ago season averages. On the same night, HBO’s “Game of Thrones” drew a series-high 2.72 million viewers and AMC’s “The Killing” was on the upswing with 1.98 million; both shows wrap June 19.

VH1 kicked off its summer sked Monday with the third-season preem of “Basketball Wives” (1.0/3, 1.83m) and the series debut of romantic dramedy “Single Ladies” (1.0/3, 1.85m), the net’s first hourlong scripted series. Together, they combined for VH1’s highest-rated night since October 2009.

And Monday saw good showings by E!’s “Khloe & Lamar” (1.4/3, 2.48m) and Bravo’s “Real Housewives of New Jersey” (1.3/3, 2.50m).

Discovery moved up to fifth among cablers in demos for the week thanks to Monday’s “American Chopper: Senior vs. Junior” (1.5/4, 3.22m) and Tuesday’s “Deadliest Catch” (1.7/4, 3.58m).

TNT’s summer Wednesday lineup got off to a sluggish start with the debut of legal dramedy “Franklin & Bash,” starring Mark-Paul Gosselaar and Breckin Meyer (0.9/2 in 18-49, 2.75m), and the return of “Men of a Certain Age” (0.5/1, 1.85m).

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