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Tonycast aud pales next to NBA Finals

Awards show draws in 7 million

CBS’ annual telecast of the Tony Awards again drew about 7 million viewers Sunday, but it was no match for the deciding game of the NBA Finals on ABC, which soared well above 20 million.

Preliminary Nielsen nationals show that the “65th Annual Tony Awards,” hosted by Neil Patrick Harris, averaged a 1.2 rating/3 share in adults 18-49 (up a tick vs. last year) and 6.9 million viewers overall (off a tad vs. 2010) from 8 to 11. The most-watched Tonys of the past five years remains the 2009 show, featuring Harris’ first hosting gig on the kudocast. Sunday’s show, which aired after “60 Minutes” (1.1/4 in 18-49, 9.2 million viewers overall), peaked in its opening half-hour of 8 p.m., drawing 8.4 million viewers.

New York was again the top local market nationally, with 10.4% of homes in the Gotham market tuned in to CBS on Sunday. Other top local scores included San Francisco; Hartford, Conn.; and West Palm Beach, Fla.; (all 7.7) and Boston at 7.6. Los Angeles averaged a 6.0.

Though pro basketball’s championship series and a kudocast honoring Broadway’s greatest wouldn’t seem to have a lot of crossover audience, the Tonys likely lose some viewers whenever the events go head-to-head — as they have a few times in recent years.

Game 6 of the NBA Finals averaged a 9.5 rating in adults 18-49 and 23.5 million viewers overall, according to Nielsen prelims, becoming the top-rated primetime telecast in the demo since the Academy Awards in late February.

In the past 13 years of the NBA Finals, only the Game 7 contest last year between the Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics (28.2 million) drew a larger audience than Sunday’s Dallas-Miami conclusion.

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