NBA Finals Lift ABC to Weekly Victory; NBC’s ‘Voice’ and ‘Talent’ Are Top-Rated Series

Lebron James NBA Finals
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

USA leads in key demos among cable networks, sees mixed results for its original dramas

ABC dominated last week’s primetime ratings race in key demos behind the NBA Finals while NBC was a solid runner-up thanks to reality hits “The Voice” and “America’s Got Talent.”

Actually, sports and reality dominated the demo rankings in general, with only one scripted original — ABC’s “Mistresses” — among the week’s 25 highest-rated ad-supported programs in young adults.

CBS, meanwhile, continues to take its lumps in the early part of TV’s summer season as it is especially hurt by the lower ratings for repeats that all nets are seeing. The Eye has finished fifth or lower in adults 18-49 for three straight weeks, and its decision to start summer perennial “Big Brother” earlier this year — it bows next week — is looking better by the minute.

In a week jam-packed with scripted originals on cable, ABC Family had good news as “The Fosters” rose in its second episode and “Pretty Little Liars” returned strong. TNT’s “Major Crimes” was solid in its return, but USA’s “Royal Pains” hit a series demo low with its season preem.

Overall, according to Nielsen estimates for the week of June 10-16, ABC led in adults 18-49 with a 2.7 rating/9 share, followed by NBC (1.7/5), Univision (1.3/4), Fox (1.2/4) and CBS (0.9/3). The Alphabet also led in adults 25-54 (3.0/9) and total viewers (7.5 million).

Other than Oscar week, this was ABC’s top-rated week since last year’s NBA Finals.

Univision edged out Fox for third place in adults 18-49, led by 9 p.m. telenovela “Amores Verdaderos” (True Love). In the 8 o’clock hour across the weeknights, ““Porque el Amor Manda (Because Love Rules)” made Univision the top-rated network on television in adults 18-34.

ABC’s coverage of the Miami Heat and San Antonio Spurs in the NBA Finals topped the week with its games on Tuesday (5.8/17 in 18-49, 14.04m), Thursday (6.7/21, 16.23m) and Sunday (6.3/19 in 18-49, 16.27m). NBC, meanwhile, scored Wednesday with Game 1 of the NHL’s Stanley Cup Finals (2.5/9 in 18-49, 6.36m) — the most-watched opener of hockey’s championship round since 1997.

On the series side, Monday’s “The Voice” (3.3/10 in 18-49, 11.85m) and Tuesday’s “America’s Got Talent” (3.0/8 in 18-49, 11.52m) remained potent and joined basketball among the week’s top five shows in 18-49.

At ABC, “Mistresses” edged up in its third week (1.4/4 in 18-49, 4.22m), while the net’s Wednesday newbie “The Lookout” held steady (1.1/3, 3.88m).

CBS’ “Brooklyn DA” (0.6/2 in 18-49, 3.56m) dropped for a second straight week following its modest bow and was then shifted to Saturday nights to finish its run. The net’s other early-summer newcomer, “The American Baking Competition” on Wednesday (1.2/4 in 18-49, 5.68m),  edged up for a second consecutive week.

At Fox, “MasterChef” is the top summer performer (averaging 2.4/8 in 18-49 on Wednesday) while rookie “Does Someone Have to Go?” (0.9/3, 2.34m) continues to lose a big chunk of its “Hell’s Kitchen” lead-in (2.0/7, 5.14m) on Thursday.

Among cable nets, USA set the pace in adults 18-49, adults 25-54 and total viewers — thanks to “WWE Raw” (1.4/4 in 18-49, 4.09m) and its original dramas. USA’s “Graceland” held up well in its second week Thursday, rising 1% from its premiere in adults 18-49 (0.8/2) and again retaining about two-thirds of its “Burn Notice” demo lead-in (1.2/3 in 18-49, 2.77m). In total viewers, “Graceland” dipped 16% (to 2.77 million), so the week-one viewers who didn’t return were largely 50-plus.

USA drama “Royal Pains” looked sluggish in kicking off its fifth season Wednesday (0.7/2, 3.68m), down about 25% from last year for the show’s lowest young-adult rating to date. Holding up better relative to last year was sked partner “Necessary Roughness,” which was beginning its third season (0.65/2 in 18-49, 2.61m).

ABC Family drama “The Fosters” saw a surge in viewership on Monday for its second episode — up 20% in total viewers (to 1.70 million) and also gaining across the demo board. And one night later, “Pretty Little Liars” (1.3/4 in 18-49, 2.97m) returned up 16% in 18-49 from last summer’s premiere while becoming the biggest drama telecast on basic cable or broadcast in persons 12-34 (2.3 rating or 2.11 million viewers) since the season finale of AMC’s “The Walking Dead” on March 31.

MTV’s “Teen Wolf” (1.0/3 in 18-49, 2.11m) was in line with its record-setting season premiere of the previous week. It led all of television for the 10 p.m. hour Monday in persons 12-34 (1.7 rating or 1.55 million viewers).

At TNT, the season premiere of “Major Crimes” was solid (0.9/2, 5.02m), on par with its first-season finale last October and the week’s most-watched cable show overall; the series launched to more than 7 million viewers last August when it premiered after the series finale of “The Closer.” “Major Crimes” was followed by the series premiere of “King & Maxwell” (0.7/2, 3.52m), which held about 70% of its lead-in.

In its second week, the net’s reality series “The Hero” fell 29% in total viewers (to 1.08 million) and by about 40% in adults 18-49 (0.4/1).

TBS comedy “Sullivan & Son” returned Thursday (0.9/2 in 18-49, 2.10m) on par with how it rated in its first season; one week earlier, the season finale of “Men at Work” did a 0.8/2 and 1.73 million.

At OWN, Tuesday drama “The Haves and Have-Nots” (0.5/1 in 18-49, 1.31m) was up vs. the previous week by 2% in 18-49 and 15% in women 25-54. But Wednesday comedy “Love Thy Neighbor” (0.3/1 in 18-49, 1.13 million average for its two half-hours) was down for a second straight week.

One week from its finale, AMC’s “Mad Men” (0.7/2 in 18-49, 2.06m) had its second lowest numbers of the season. Also Sunday, “The Killing” continues to put up modest numbers (0.4/1, 1.36m).

Discovery’s “Deadliest Catch” (1.3/4 in 18-49, 2.83m) was cable’s No. 1 Tuesday program in key male demos.

HBO’s “True Blood” opened its sixth season Sunday (2.4/7 in 18-49, 4.52m) with its lowest scores for a premiere since season 2 in 2009; still, no scripted series attracted more young adults last week.


Adults 18-49
1.  NBA Finals: Game 4-Thursday (ABC), 6.7/21
2.  NBA Finals: Game 5-Sunday (ABC), 6.3/19
3.  NBA Finals: Game 3-Tuesday (ESPN), 5.8/17
4.  The Voice-Monday (NBC), 3.3/10
5.  America’s Got Talent (NBC), 3.0/8
6.  The Voice-Tuesday (NBC), 2.9/10
7.  NHL Stanley Cup Finals: Game 1-Wed. (NBC), 2.5/9
7.  MasterChef-9 (Fox), 2.5/7
9.  True Blood (HBO), 2.4/7
10.  MasterChef-8 (Fox), 2.3/8
11.  The Big Bang Theory-R (CBS), 2.1/8
12.  NBA Finals Countdown-Thursday (ABC), 2.0/7
13.  Hell’s Kitchen (Fox), 2.0/7
14.  NBA Finals Countdown-Tuesday (ABC), 1.9/6
15.  The Winner Is… (NBC), 1.8/5
15.  The Bachelorette (ABC), 1.8/5
17.  So You Think You Can Dance (Fox), 1.7/5
18.  Love & Hip Hop Atlanta (VH1), 1.6/5
19.  NHL Stanley Cup Finals: Game 2-Sat. (NBCS), 1.5/7
20.  Two and a Half Men (CBS), 1.4/5
20.  20/20 (ABC), 1.4/5
20.  NBA Finals Countdown-Sunday (ABC), 1.4/5
20.  CSI (CBS), 1.4/4
20.  Mistresses (ABC), 1.4/4
20.  WWE Raw (USA), 1.4/4
20.  The Big Bang Theory-Wednesday (TBS), 1.4/4

Total Viewers (in millions)
1.  NBA Finals: Game 5-Sunday (ABC), 16.27
2.  NBA Finals: Game 4-Thursday (ABC), 16.23
3.  NBA East Finals: Game 3-Tuesday (TNT), 11.57
4.  The Voice-Monday (NBC), 11.85
5.  America’s Got Talent (NBC), 11.52
6.  The Voice-Tuesday (NBC), 10.66
7.  NCIS (CBS), 8.67
8.  The Big Bang Theory-r (CBS), 8.62
9.  NCIS: Los Angeles-r (CBS), 7.43
10.  CSI (CBS), 7.14
11.  60 Minutes (CBS), 7.00
12.  Person of Interest (CBS), 6.52
13.  NHL Stanley Cup Finals: Game 1-Wed. (NBC), 6.36
14.  Two and a Half Men (CBS), 6.34
15.  The Winner Is… (NBC), 6.31
16.  Criminal Minds (CBS), 6.23
17. MasterChef-9 (Fox), 6.20
18.  Blue Bloods (CBS), 5.89
19.  The Bachelorette (ABC), 5.76
20.  Dateline-Friday (NBC), 5.73

(in millions)

Total Viewers
ABC  7.54
NBC  6.12
CBS  5.09
UNI  3.18
Fox  3.12
USA  2.65
Disney  2.52
History  2.13
FNC  1.67
TNT  1.60

Adults 18-49
ABC  3.46 (2.7/9)
NBC  2.11   (1.7/5)
UNI  1.58
Fox  1.46   (1.2/4)
CBS  1.12   (1.0/3)
USA  0.89
TBS  0.86
TEL  0.82
History  0.75
ADSM  0.72

Adults 25-54
ABC  3.61   (3.0/9)
NBC  2.53   (2.1/6)
Fox  1.65   (1.4/4)
CBS  1.54   (1.3/4)
UNI  1.53
USA  0.98
History  0.90
TBS  0.86
TEL  0.81
A&E  0.69


Total Viewers (in millions)
CBS  11.31 (+1% from last season)
ABC  7.76 (-6%)
NBC  6.91 (-4%)
Fox  6.76 (-21%)
4-Nets  32.74 (-7%)

CW  1.70 (+4%)
TEL  1.40 (+15%)
UNI  3.66 (+1%)

Adults 18-49 (Rating/share)
CBS  2.7/8 (-4%)
Fox  2.4/7 (-23%)
NBC  2.3/7 (-5%)
ABC  2.2/6 (-8%)
4-nets  9.6/28 (-10%)

CW  0.7/2 (Even)
TEL  0.6/2 (+20%)
UNI  1.5/4 (Even)

Adults 25-54
CBS  3.6/9 (-3%)
NBC  2.8/7 (-3%)
Fox  2.8/7 (-20%)
ABC  2.8/7 (-7%)
4-nets  12.0/30 (-8%)

CW  0.7/2 (Even)
TEL  0.6/2 (+20%)
UNI  1.5/4 (+7%)

Adults 18-34
Fox  2.1/7 (-19%)
CBS  1.8/6 (Even)
NBC  1.8/6 (-5%)
ABC  1.7/6 (-6%)
4-nets  7.4/25 (-9%)

CW  0.7/2 (-13%)
TEL  0.6/2 (+20%)
UNI  1.3/4 (-13%)

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