HOLLYWOOD — Basketball and a Pearl Harbor spec helped NBC maintain its momentum last week following the conclusion of the regular season, as the net rolled to its sixth straight victory among young adults and also prevailed in total viewers.
According to Nielsen Media Research, the Peacock net topped second-place Fox by 3 shares in adults 18-49 for the week of May 21-27. A 10-day stretch in which NBC captured eight nights in the demo ended Friday, but NBA playoff action and a National Geographic spec, “Pearl Harbor: Legacy of Attack,” lifted the net to strong second-place finishes on the weekend.
And in total viewers, its victory over runner-up CBS (by about half a million viewers) is its first by this measure since early February when the XFL premiered. Net was boosted by two original episodes of “Law & Order,” which ranked second and fourth for the frame in overall audience.
The week, which included the final three days of the traditional broadcast season, was top-heavy with finales on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. In fact, only two of the week’s top 15 programs in adults 18-49 aired after Wednesday — NBC Thursday laffers “Friends” and “Will & Grace.”
CBS, with a rerun-heavy post-Wednesday lineup, was second in total viewers but fourth in adults 18-49 with its worst marks since December. Net’s one-hour season finale of “Everybody Loves Raymond” was the week’s No. 1 program in total viewers (20.13m) and No. 2 in adults 18-49 (7.6/18).
CBS aired five of the week’s top 12 shows in total viewers, including Tuesday’s “JAG” at No. 5 and “Judging Amy” at No. 9.
Fox was a solid second in adults 18-49 and 18-34 despite uncompetitive perfs on Thursday (“Essence Awards”) and Friday (repeat of Barbra Streisand concert spec “Timeless”). Net, boosted by a big NASCAR race on Sunday, gained more viewers than any other net vs. the same week a year ago.
ABC fell to season-low averages and was the only network down across the board vs. the same week last year. Net fared better in evening news, as “World News Tonight” was the most-watched newscast for the second time in three weeks, following a 53-week winning streak for NBC’s “Nightly News.”
Series finale of “Star Trek: Voyager” boosted UPN past the WB by most measures for the week, including its best scores in total viewers, adults 18-49 and adults 18-34 since premiere week last October.
Still, the WB matched its best adults 18-49 average since November, as “7th Heaven,” “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and “Dawson’s Creek” gave the net a strong early-week presence.
Fox’s broadcast of the “Coca Cola 600” topped CBS’ recent airings of the “Pepsi 400” to become the top-rated primetime NASCAR race ever (9.38m, 4.2/16 in A18-49). It ranked among the week’s top 10 programs in men 18-49 and men 25-54.
NBC ran second in adults 18-49 to Fox (4.0/13 vs. 4.5/16) thanks to an NBA playoff overrun and a National Geographic spec on “Pearl Harbor,” the latter of which was the night’s most-watched show (13.55m). Net also won a Sunday in total viewers (10.8m) for the first time since January’s Golden Globes.
Fox won in adults 18-49 (2.8/11) as its reality staples edged out NBC’s hodgepodge lineup of NBA basketball, repeat theatrical “Beverly Hills Ninja” and a “Saturday Night Live” repeat spec on Chris Farley (2.7/10).
ABC ran third at 10 p.m. with a one-hour ABC News spec on Pearl Harbor (5.78m, 1.8/6 in A18-49).
NBC’s first primetime NBA playoff game of the season (Western Conference finals Game 3: Spurs at Lakers) averaged 8.89 million viewers and a 4.0/14 in adults 18-49 — down from last year’s comparable Lakers-Trail Blazers game by about 15%.
Season finale of CBS’ disappointing “The Fugitive” scored the series’ best marks since February (7.22m, 2.2/7 in A18-49) but that still left it a distant third in its 10 p.m. hour.
Fox ran sixth in adults 18-34 (0.8/3) and fourth in 18-49 (1.2/4) with a rebroadcast of Streisand spec “Timeless.”
An all-repeat lineup gave NBC the night by 5 shares over second-place CBS in adults 18-49, although the Eye moved ahead in total viewers. A repeat of CBS’ “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation” was the night’s most-watched show (13.62m), while a new “Funny Flubs and Screw-Ups” spec edged out NBC’s comedies in viewers at 8 p.m.
First Thursday try for NBC’s “Three Sisters” (4.6/14) retained an acceptable 78% of its 18-49 lead-in from “Friends” (5.9/21).
An extra hour of ABC’s “Whose Line Is It Anyway” subbed for “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” in the 9 o’clock hour, with its 3.6/10 average in adults 18-49 topping three of the quizzer’s last four scores.
The “15th Annual Essence Awards” on Fox (3.62m, 1.5/5 in A18-49) was down slightly vs. last year, landing the net in fifth place.
NBC rolled to victory behind “Ed” and two episodes of “Law & Order,” while UPN moved up to second on the night in 18-49 (4.6/13) with the two-hour series finale of “Star Trek: Voyager” (Daily Variety, May 25).
Other standouts on the final night of the season included the WB’s “Dawson’s Creek” (first-place 4.9/15 in women 18-34) and Fox’s “Boot Camp” finale (first-place 6.3/17 in A18-34, second-place 5.1/13 in A18-49).
Series finale of “3rd Rock From the Sun” teamed with a dominant one-hour season finale of “Frasier” (17.88m, 7.5/19 in A18-49) and a special 10 p.m. “Weakest Link” (11.53m, 5.7/15) to give NBC the night in adults 18-49 with its best score on a Tuesday with series programming (6.1/16) since October.
Season finale of Fox’s “That ’70s Show” won its slot in 18-49 (5.9/18) and was the top program of the week in adults 18-34 (7.1/22).
“JAG’s” season finale drew its largest aud since February (15.14m) and became the first Tuesday series to outdraw “Millionaire” (14.77m).
ABC’s season finale of “Dharma & Greg” finished just 2 shares behind the first half of “Frasier” in 18-49 (5.8/15 vs. 6.8/17) and hit a season high in 18-34 (5.9/16), while the net’s season finale of “NYPD Blue” (15.12m, 6.2/16 in A18-49) won its hour and also delivered its best women 18-34 rating (5.9/16) in 16 months.
One-hour finales of “King of Queens” and “Everybody Loves Raymond” helped CBS capture May 21 by virtually all measures (Daily Variety, May 23).
The week’s top two programs among female teens aired on this night: the WB’s season finale of “7th Heaven” (9.7/27) and ABC’s conclusion of mini “Anne Frank” (9.2/29).