With the Chicago Bulls-Phoenix Suns NBA championship series on its side, NBC soared above the prime time ratings competition to win the June 7-13 week by almost 2 ratings points.
The Peacock owes it all to basketball — Sunday’s dramatic triple-overtime Phoenix victory was the highest-rated Game Three of an NBA finals series ever and Wednesday’s opener grabbed the highest first-game rating ever.
Both scored as the two highest-rated NBA telecasts since the fifth and deciding game of the Chicago-L.A. Lakers final series in June 1991 (19.7 rating, 36 share).
Sunday’s and Wednesday’s games were the eighth- and 12th-highest-rated NBA broadcasts in television history. The highest NBA score ever was the 21.2/37 nabbed by Game Seven of the L.A. Lakers-Detroit Pistons series June 21, 1988.
After three games, NBC’s 16.2/30 average is the best ever for an NBA final at this point, up 19% over last year’s three-game 13.6/26.
Basketball is also skewing encouragingly young; thus, NBC’s victory last week was all the more emphatic in the demographics sought most avidly by advertisers. Among adults 18-49, the week’s standings were NBC, 7.4/23; ABC, 4.8/15; CBS, 4.3 /13; Fox Broadcasting Co., 3.4/11.
For the broadcast year dating back to last September, NBC is running second (ahead of CBS) in adults 18-49 averages.
ABC was a dismal third in the week’s household ratings, but that network points out that it’s now finished the second quarter ranked first in quarterlong household ratings and was the only network to improve its figures in first quarter ’93 vs. first quarter ’92.
While ABC showed a 2% ratings improvement for the quarter, CBS was down 2%, NBC down 1% and Fox down 7%.
The evening-news race returned to relative normalcy last week, after a minor shakeup the previous week with the intro of Connie Chung to co-anchor duties on Dan Rather’s CBS newscast. Last week, CBS slipped back to a more usual gap, 1.4 ratingpoints behind news leader ABC, after pulling within 0.9 points the previous week. That was the second closest CBS had come to ABC this calendar year.
Monday of this week saw NBC win the night for the fourth time in five weeks and CBS’ anemic lineup fall to last place for the second straight time. Key to the Peacock nightlong sweep was the rerun telefilm “Hell Hath No Fury” (11.6/20 ). ABC continues to perform competitively at 8 p.m. with “Day One” (8.5/16).
NBC clinched its June 7-13 victory by dominating Sunday, as Suns-Bulls basketball scored the best NBC Sunday share since the Super Bowl. The night’s hoops topped even CBS’ “Murder, She Wrote,” which has otherwise run undefeated in its 18 airings since Super Sunday.
CBS’ second half of the Betty Broderick “double feature” (“Woman Scorned” Friday and “Her Final Fury” Saturday) opened up the Eye’s biggest Saturday margin of victory in the 10 weeks since the college basketball semifinals April 3. CBS still skews decidedly older on the night, as Fox won Saturday again easily among adults 18-49.
While basketball stumbled through an off night (down in rating 4% from the previous week’s semifinal Bulls-Knicks game), it was agile enough to pick off NBC’s second straight Friday victory after the Peacock had triumphed on just one of the previous 41.
But the net’s pregame “NBA Stories” spec shot a brick, equaling NBC’s second lowest share that hour in the last 17 weeks.
CBS’ premiere of “Cutters” at 8:30 was a routine performer for that slot, up 3% from its “Golden Palace” lead-in rating.
Fox got its lowest 9 p.m. share in four weeks from a spec on the British royal family.
NBC kept ahead on the night despite the collapse of “A Different World.” Even with a firstrun episode, “World” last week spiraled to NBC’s worst share in the Thursday 8-8:30 half-hour in at least 11 years and possibly in TV history.
Helping to make up for the sad state of “World” was a 10-11 p.m. Hillary Clinton docu that delivered NBC’s first victory in that slot with something besides “Cheers” since last Oct. 29.
ABC’s “Crossroads” returned to the sked with a respectable second-place finish in the 9 p.m. hour.
The opening game of the Bulls-Suns NBA finals dunked the night’s competition, scoring NBC’s best Wednesday share since last summer’s Olympics.
CBS rallied against ABC’s weak 9:30-11 p.m. lineup of “Room for Two” (down 37 % from its “Roseanne” lead-in, ABC’s worst post-“Roseanne” perf since Sept. 5, 1989) and “Jack’s Place” (ABC’s lowest share that hour since last Dec. 29). The web is burning off unused episodes of the two canceled series.
That cleared the way for the CBS theatrical “Deadbolt” to win the night for the Eye with that net’s second-best Tuesday-pic share since March 23.
NBC got a solid start from “Route 66,” the web’s best share in the Tuesday lead-off hour in four weeks and best from a regular series since last Oct. 20; however, “South Beach” suffered significant erosion at 9 p.m. and settled for average NBC numbers that hour — which is unsatisfactory.
At 10 p.m., “Dateline NBC” scored the week’s best adults 18-49 numbers for a news program.
NBC grabbed its third Monday victory in four weeks with the rerun vidpic “She Says She’s Innocent” (Daily Variety, June 9). ABC got a promising Monday start from “Day One,” equaling the net’s best share that hour in nine weeks.
Each rating point represents an estimated 931,000 households, or 1% of the country’s TV homes.
The share is the same sort of percentage, except it’s measured against only the households watching TV during the timeslot involved.