Game 6 of the NBA Finals achieved an even more decisive win over the weekly TV ratings race than the Golden State Warriors’ defeat of the Cleveland Cavaliers. Airing on ABC, the matchup drew more than 23 million viewers last Tuesday night, more than double the viewers of any other program airing the week ending June 21, according to data from Nielsen.
The NHL Stanley Cup Final also scored big, coming in fourth place of all programming with 8 million tuning into the NBC broadcast. The six-game series between the Chicago Blackhawks and Tampa Bay Lightning averaged 5.55 million viewers — the second largest audience on record for the event (behind only the 5.75 million for Boston-Chicago in 2013).
A different kind of game also stormed last week’s ratings: “Celebrity Family Feud,” hosted by Steve Harvey, premiered to 8.7 million viewers, good for a third-place finish. The game show airs on ABC and will run for six weeks. Singer Toni Braxton brought her family on the show to face off against “Black-ish’s” Anthony Anderson and his relatives.
ABC’s robot competition series “Battlebots” benefitted from a “Celebrity Family Feud” lead-in, with 5.4 million viewers tuning in for the action. The series is particularly popular among younger viewers, especially younger males.
In the wake of the previous week’s record-setting “Game of Thrones” finale, HBO managed to remain in the ratings conversation with two solid series premieres. The season two bow of “True Detective,” starring Rachel McAdams and Vince Vaughn, opened to a healthy 3.17 million viewers, the series’ second-highest-rated episode behind last season’s finale. In addition, HBO’s “Ballers,” a new “Entourage”-esque comedy starring Dwayne Johnson, debuted to 2.16 million viewers, a positive start for an HBO comedy.
“The Astronaut Wives Club,” a new 1960s-set series on ABC, premiered to a mediocre 5.5 million Thursday night. Based on Lily Koppel’s book of the same name, the series stars Yvonne Strahovski.
“A.D. The Bible Continues” aired its finale Sunday night to a modest 3.6 million. The religious epic has been dropping off for the past few weeks, which does not bode well for its future as a series at NBC.
The broadcast networks were led by ABC, which averaged 6 million viewers per evening, thanks to its NBA Finals clincher. In second place was Fox with a 4.92 million average, followed by CBS (4.90 million) and NBC (4.51 million).
The cable race was won by TNT’s “Rizzoli & Isles.” The season six premiere of the cop drama drew 4.39 million.
For the week of June 15-21, the top 10 programs, their networks and their viewerships: “NBA Finals – Game 6,” ABC, 23.3 million; “America’s Got Talent,” NBC, 10.2 million; “Celebrity Family Feud,” ABC, 8.7 million; “NHL Stanley Cup Final – Game 6,” NBC, 8 million; “NCIS,” CBS, 7.4 million; “20/20,” ABC, 7.3 million; “The Big Bang Theory,” CBS, 7.2 million; “NBA Countdown,” ABC, 6.6 million; “Dateline,” NBC, 6.3 million; “The Bachelorette,” ABC, 6.3 million.