NBC notches primetime victory

Reality shows, hockey final key rare demo triumph

TV’s hottest talent competitions and the most-watched pro hockey game in 38 years lifted NBC to a rare primetime ratings victory in key demos last week.

New singing series “The Voice,” nearing its June 29 finale, towered over everything else in Nielsen’s adults 18-49 program rankings (4.6 rating/13 share), and “America’s Got Talent” ranked second in the demo (3.5/11) and first in total viewers (12.59 million). The seventh and final game in the NHL’s Stanley Cup Finals, meanwhile, built to a strong 3.4/11 in 18-49 and was the week’s No. 1 show in men 18-49 (4.5/14).

The average audience for the Boston Bruins’ victory over the Vancouver Canucks — 8.54 million — was the largest for an NHL game since a Finals matchup between Montreal and Chicago in May 1973 (9.4 million on NBC).

Last week also included some notable cable offerings, including the finales of HBO’s “Game of Thrones” and AMC’s “The Killing” and a strong start for TNT’s “Falling Skies.”

Overall, though, the June 13-19 frame went rather easily in demos to NBC, whose 2.0 rating/7 share bested Fox and Univision, which tied for second (1.5/5), followed by ABC (1.2/4) and CBS (1.2/3). This marks the fourth straight week that Spanish-language leader Univision, which remains in originals all summer, has beaten at least one of the Big Four in 18-49.

The Peacock also led in adults 25-54 while edging out CBS in total viewers. NBC’s first 18-49 victory since the week it aired an NFL playoff game in early January was also aided by timeslot victories for “Dateline” on Friday (1.5/5, 6.50m) and the “Miss USA” pageant on Sunday (2.2/6, 7.42m). The net’s burn-off series “Love Bites” (1.0/3, 2.34m) isn’t doing much on Thursday, though it did match its repeat lead-in.

Outside NBC, the week’s other top draws among young adults were the reality shows “So You Think You Can Dance” on Fox (2.7/8, 7.59m), “Pawn Stars” on History (2.7/8, 7.49m) and “The Bachelorette” on ABC (2.4/7, 7.88m).

Also clicking for History, which finished in a virtual tie with USA for the week’s cable lead in 18-49 and 25-54, were “American Pickers” (1.8/5, 7.29m) and “Swamp People” (1.8/5, 4.57m).

Elsewhere in cable, TNT’s “Falling Skies” opened strongly Sunday (2.0/5 in 18-49, 5.91m), becoming the top cable series preem of 2011 in both adults 25-54 (2.6/7) and total viewers; it tied for 10th among primetime’s top shows of the week in 18-49. Also for the net, Wednesday drama “Franklin and Bash” (0.9/2, 2.88m) grew a bit in its third week.

ABC Family’s Monday remained potent with its combo of “The Secret Life of the American Teenager” (1.4/4, 3.07m) and the new “Switched at Birth” (1.2/3, 2.92m), which grew in its second week among adults 18-34 (1.7 vs. 1.5). “Switched” retained about 95% of its “Secret Life” females 12-34 lead-in (3.3 vs. 3.5).

The net, which ranked first among cablers for the week in adults 18-34, also scored with Tuesday’s season preem of “Pretty Little Liars” (1.3/4, 3.68m) but did only so-so with the series launch of “Nine Lives of Chloe King” (0.7/2, 2.17m).

Other highlights:

nDiscovery’s “Deadliest Catch” topped cable in demos Tuesday (1.7/5 in 18-49, 3.63m), logging the show’s highest 25-54 score (2.0/5) since its season premiere last April.

nOn Sunday, HBO’s “Game of Thrones” wrapped its first season with highs (1.4/3, 3.04m), and AMC’s finale of “The Killing” (0.7/2, 2.32m) was above its recent averages. Also strong was E!’s “Keeping Up With the Kardashians” (1.5/4, 2.75m), while Lifetime’s third-season bow of “Drop Dead Diva” (1.0/2, 2.86m) was up over last year’s preem in all key demos.n TLC’s Wednesday series “Extreme Couponing” (1.0/3, 2.15m) was cable’s No. 1 show of the night in women 18-49 (1.4/4).

n And MTV’s “Teen Wolf” (0.7/2, 1.82m) bounced back in its second Monday episode.

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