TNT’s ‘Falling Skies’ returns to 4.5 million Sunday

Audience still solid despite facing NBA Finals on ABC

TNT’s “Falling Skies” came back to earth a bit in its second-season premiere Sunday, but still checked in with a sizable audience.

Nielsen estimates that the two-hour return of the Noah Wyle-fronted series from DreamWorks Television and Steven Spielberg averaged 4.5 million viewers from 9 to 11. It also drew 1.9 million adults 18-49 and 2.2 million adults 25-54.

By comparison, last June the show bowed to 5.9 million viewers (including about 2.6 million adults 18-49) and concluded

in August with 5.6 million viewers (including nearly 2.5 million adults 18-49).

Sunday marked the first time that “Skies,” which does pretty well with men, has gone up against the NBA Finals — with last night’s Game 3 of pro basketball’s championship round drawing about 15 million viewers. (This season’s hoops action is wrapping later than usual due to a labor-related work stoppage that delayed the start of the season until Christmas.)

“Falling Skies” was the most-watched cable series premiere of 2011. TNT also accomplished this feat in 2010 with “Rizzoli & Isles,” and its preem of “Dallas” last week (6.9 million) holds the honor at the midway point of this year.

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