The opening game of the NBA Finals on ABC produced some of the events best numbers in years Tuesday, but NBC still had reason to crow as “America’s Got Talent” returned big and “The Voice” grew louder.
According to preliminary, affiliate-based nationals from Nielsen, the sixth-season premiere of “America’s Got Talent” averaged a 4.2 rating/12 share in adults 18-49 and 15.0 million viewers overall from 8 to 10 p.m., rising 17% in the demo vs. its opener last year when it didn’t face the NBA Finals but instead went up against tough reality competition from “Hell’s Kitchen” and “Wipeout.” This is the top-rated “Talent” opener since 2007, and the largest overall audience to date for a season premiere of the show. The 4.2 rating in the demo is also the best for any installment of “Talent” since its second-season finale in August 2007.
“Talent” was followed on NBC by hot new series “The Voice” (4.9/13 in 18-49, 14.4 million viewers overall), which took advantage of its strong lead-in to rise about 30% week to week. The music talent show drew its best 18-49 score in four weeks while establishing a high in total viewers.
The NBA Finals, meanwhile, opened impressively as Game 1 of the series between the Miami Heat and Dallas Mavericks averaged a 5.5 rating/14 share in adults 18-49 and 15.5 million viewers overall on ABC’s stations from 9 to 11 p.m.; though these numbers are subject to significant revision in the nationals due to time zone differences — and are expected to rise — look for the game to be the top-rated NBA Finals opener in 18-49 since 2004 (7.0/19 for Los Angeles Lakers-Detroit Pistons) while drawing the event’s largest overall audience in 10 years (since the series between the Lakers and Philadelphia 76ers drew 18.6 million in 2001).
Last year’s Game 1 between the Lakers and Boston Celtics averaged a 5.7/18 in 18-49 and 14.1 million viewers overall. And when the Heat and Mavericks met for the championship five years ago, Game 1 drew a 4.8/15 in the demo while drawing 11.5 million viewers overall.
In metered-market overnights, Tuesday’s Game 1 generated a 10.7 household rating, according to Nielsen, up 3% from last year and the highest for an NBA Finals opener since 2004 (11.5). The game earned a 31.9 rating in Miami, and a 29.9 in Dallas.
CBS hung in there from 8 to 10 p.m. with encores of “NCIS” (1.8/6 in 18-49, 11.1 million viewers overall) and “NCIS: Los Angeles” (1.6/4 in 18-49, 9.9 million viewers overall) before losing steam with a repeat of “The Good Wife” (0.9/2 in 18-49, 6.2 million viewers overall). And Fox didn’t do much with repeats of “Glee” (1.0/3 in 18-49, 2.8 million viewers overall) and “Raising Hope” (1.0/3 in 18-49, 2.6 million viewers overall) and the series finale of “Traffic Light” (0.8/2 in 18-49, 2.2 million viewers overall).
The lineups on both CBS and Fox were topped on the night in 18-49 by Univision’s original telenovelas.
Preliminary 18-49 averages for the night: ABC, 4.5/12; NBC, 4.4/12; Univision, 1.5/4; CBS, 1.4/4; Fox, 1.0/3; CW, 0.3/1.
In total viewers: NBC, 14.8 million; ABC, 10.8 million; CBS, 9.0 million; Univision, 3.7 million; Fox, 2.6 million; CW, 0.9 million.