UPDATE: NBA Finals on ABC Deliver 2nd Largest Game 4 Audience in Nine Years

NBA Finals
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NBC's 'Hannibal' hits low for second week in row

UPDATE: Game 4 averaged a 6.7 rating/21 share in adults 18-49 and 16.23 million viewers overall, according to Nielsen nationals released late Friday. This is about 15% better in demo, and nearly 2 million more total viewers, than the average for the first three games. Over the last nine years, only the 2010 series between the Lakers and Celtics (16.37 million) has drawn a larger Game 4 audience.

It was the NBA Finals and then everything else in primetime on Thursday, as Game 4 of the Miami Heat-San Antonio Spurs match-up produced the series’ best ratings yet. Opposite the big basketball, NBC’s “Hannibal” fell to a low for a second straight week.

Preliminary estimates for live sporting events are subject to revision as always, but the Heat’s victory on Thursday to even the best-of-seven series at two games apiece averaged a 5.8 rating/18 share in adults 18-49 and 14.1 million viewers overall on ABC’s stations from 9 to 11. This is about a full demo ratings point ahead of the previous games in the series and should produce numbers nearly on par with last year’s Game 4 (Heat-Oklahoma City Thunder), which did a 7.4/22 in 18-49 and 17.4 million viewers overall.

In Nielsen’s metered-market overnights, Game 4 did a 12.0 household rating — the best of this series and the second highest for a Game 4 since 2004. It also established Finals highs in both Miami (34.2) and San Antonio (43.7).

Elsewhere, Fox’s unscripted combo of “Hell’s Kitchen” (2.0/7 in 18-49, 5.1 million viewers overall) and “Does Someone Have to Go?” (0.9/3 in 18-49, 2.4 million viewers overall) seemed to be affected by the bigger basketball, with each dropping two-tenths from last week.

At NBC, “Save Me” wrapped its run with a 0.5/2 in 18-49 and 2.2 million viewers overall at 8:30 p.m., followed by similar scores for encores of “The Office” (0.5/2 in 18-49, 1.6 million viewers overall) and “Parks and Recreation” (0.5/2 in 18-49, 1.5 million viewers overall). And at 10, “Hannibal” (0.7/2 in 18-49, 2.0 million viewers overall) was down a tick for a second straight week to a series low. The ratings-challenged draws a sizable chunk of its audience from men and already does well in DVR playback, so its same-night results opposite the NBA Finals figured to be lower than usual anyway.

CBS aired encores of “The Big Bang Theory” (2.0/7 in 18-49, 8.3 million viewers overall), “Two and a Half Men” (1.3/5 in 18-49, 6.4 million viewers overall), “Person of Interest” (1.0/3 in 18-49, 6.6 million viewers overall) and “Elementary” (1.0/3 in 18-49, 5.6 million viewers overall). “Big Bang” was the night’s No. 1 entertainment series in 18-49 (tied with “Hell’s Kitchen), 25-54 and total viewers.

Preliminary 18-49 averages for the night: ABC, 4.7/15; Fox, 1.4/5; Univision, 1.4/4; CBS, 1.2/4; NBC and Telemundo, 0.6/2; CW, 0.3/1.

In total viewers: ABC, 11.8 million; CBS, 6.5 million; Fox, 3.8 million; Univision, 3.5 million; NBC, 2.0 million; Telemundo, 1.5 million; CW, 0.8 million.

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