NBA Finals Clincher Keeps ABC on Top Despite NBC’s Big Week

Univision ranks third in young-adults demo while Telemundo nearly catches CBS

The NBA Finals built to some gaudy numbers for its sixth and seventh games last week, putting ABC on top of the ratings heap in key demos for a third straight time. NBC also had a strong week, surging to a five-month high as its “The Voice” and “America’s Got Talent” were the top-rated entertainment series.

Also looking good competitively were Spanish-language networks Univision and Telemundo, with the former ranking third in young adults and the latter surging year to year and tying CBS for fifth.

Only two of the week’s top 20 programs in adults 18-49 were scripted: HBO’s “True Blood” at No. 10 (2.2/6) and a repeat of CBS’ “The Big Bang Theory” on Thursday (1.6/6).

Overall, according to Nielsen estimates for June 17-23, ABC led in adults 18-49 with a 2.4 rating/8 share to a 1.9/6 for NBC. They were well ahead of the rest of the pack, led by Univision (1.3/4), Fox (1.1/4) and CBS and Telemundo (0.8/3). ABC also prevailed by narrow margins over NBC in both adults 25-54 (2.6/8 to 2.4/7) and total viewers (6.9 million to 6.7 million).

At ABC, Game 6 of the NBA Finals dominated Tuesday (8.5/25 in 18-49, 20.64 million viewers overall) and then the numbers ballooned for Game 7 on Thursday (10.6/32 in 18-49, 26.32m) — TV’s top-rated program in both 18-49 and total viewers since ABC’s coverage of the Oscars in February.

Overall, this year’s Miami-San Antonio championship series finished up 5% from last year (Miami-Oklahoma City) and stands as the second most-watched NBA Finals since 2004.

ABC also saw good numbers on Friday for “20/20” (1.5/5 in 18-49, 6.27m), which opened up a big lead on NBC’s competing news program “Rock Center” (0.9/3 in 18-49, 4.52m). In the key news demo of adults 25-54, “20/20” was Friday’s No. 1 show for a second straight week (1.0/6) and racked up its best summer delivery in nearly three years (July 2010).

On Sunday, the net premiered its unscripted combo of the returning “Celebrity Wife Swap” (1.3/4 in 18-49, 4.45m) and the new “Whodunnit?” (1.3/4 in 18-49, 4.05m) — which received plenty of promotion during the NBA Finals — to pedestrian numbers.

NBC had its best showing since the January week that included the Golden Globes as “The Voice” had a strong two-hour finale on Tuesday (4.4 rating/12 share in adults 18-49, 15.59 million viewers overall). Despite facing the NBA Finals this time, the music competition matched its year-ago conclusion in 18-49 while surging to its largest overall audience to date for a finale.

Monday’s two-hour performance finale (3.7/11 in 18-49, 12.68m) and Tuesday’s “America’s Got Talent” (3.0/9 in 18-49, 11.75m) ranked second and third, respectively, among entertainment series.

Hockey’s Stanley Cup Finals put NBC on top both Wednesday with Game 4 (2.4/8 in 18-49, 6.46m) and Saturday with Game 5 (1.9/8 in 18-49, 5.63m).

The first-season finale of “Hannibal” (0.8/2 in 18-49, 1.98m) was up slightly week to week. The already low-rated show  was unable to get much momentum down the stretch as this episode, as well as the two prior, went head to head with the NBA Finals in much of the country.

And Sunday saw a weak start for European-produced drama “Crossing Lines” (0.7/2 in 18-49, 4.38m).

Fox was led by “MasterChef” (averaging 2.2/7 in 18-49 and about 5.5 million viewers overall for its two hours) and “Hell’s Kitchen” (2.0/7 in 18-49, 5.19m).

CBS, which got off to a good start in the current week with the series premiere of “Under the Dome,” suffered through another tough frame. Its only originals were Wednesday’s “American Baking Competition” (1.2/4 in 18-49, 5.80m) and Saturday’s “Brooklyn DA” (0.5/2, 3.11m).

Univision continues to pace ahead of CBS and Fox in younger demos this summer, with 8 p.m. telenovela “Porque El Amor Manda” (Because Love Rules) leading all broadcasters in 18-34 across the week.

Telemundo capped its week with best-yet numbers for “La Voz Kids” (1.2/3 in 18-49, 2.71m).

The week in cable was dominated by Discovery’s live Sunday special “Skywire Live with Nik Wallenda” (3.6/11 in 18-49, 10.68m), with viewership rising to about 13 million for Wallenda’s scoot across the Grand Canyon. Discovery nearly caught USA for the week’s cable lead in adults 25-54.


Adults 18-49
1.  NBA Finals: Game 7-Thursday (ABC), 10.6/32
2.  NBA Finals: Game 6-Tuesday (ABC), 8.5/25
3.  The Voice-Tuesday (NBC), 4.4/12
4.  The Voice-Monday (NBC), 3.7/11
5.  Skywire Live (DISC), 3.6/11
6.  America’s Got Talent (NBC), 3.0/9
7.  NBA Countdown-Thursday (ABC), 2.5/9
8.  Stanley Cup Finals: Game 4-Wednesday (NBC), 2.4/8
9.  MasterChef-9 (Fox), 2.3/7
10.  True Blood (HBO), 2.2/6
11.  NBA Countdown-Tuesday (ABC), 2.0/7
11.  Hell’s Kitchen (Fox), 2.0/7
11.  MasterChef-8 (Fox), 2.0/7
14.  Stanley Cup Finals: Game 5-Saturday (NBC), 1.9/8
14.  Skywire Live pre-show (DISC), 1.9/6
14.  The Winner Is (NBC), 1.9/5
17.  Love & Hip-Hop Atlanta (VH1), 1.8/5
18.  The Bachelorette (ABC), 1.7/5
19.  The Big Bang Theory (CBS), 1.6/6
19.  Stanley Cup Finals: Game 2-Monday (NBCS), 1.6/5

Total Viewers (in millions)
1.  NBA Finals: Game 7-Thursday (ABC), 26.32
2.  NBA Finals: Game 6-Tuesday (ABC), 20.64
3.  The Voice-Tuesday (NBC), 15.60
4.  The Voice-Monday (NBC), 12.68
5.  America’s Got Talent-Tuesday (NBC), 11.75
6.  Skywire Live (DISC), 10.68
7.  60 Minutes (CBS), 8.41
8.  NCIS-r (CBS), 8.13
9.  The Big Bang Theory-r (CBS), 7.66
10.  The Winner Is… (NBC), 6.69
11.  NBA Countdown-Thursday (ABC), 6.56
12.  Stanley Cup Finals: Game 4-Wednesday (NBC), 6.46
13.  CSI-r (CBS), 6.41
14.  NCIS: Los Angeles-r (CBS), 6.03
15.  American Baking Competition (CBS), 5.80
15.  Two and a Half Men (CBS), 5.80
17.  Criminal Minds (CBS), 5.78
17.  MasterChef-9 (Fox), 5.78
19.  Stanley Cup Finals: Game 5-Saturday (NBC), 5.63
20.  The Bachelorette (ABC), 5.47

(in millions)

Total Viewers
ABC  6.93
NBC  6.72
CBS   5.06
UNI  3.40
Fox   3.07
USA  2.51
DIS   2.43
HIST  2.14
TNT   1.96
DISC  1.76

Adults 18-49
ABC   3.05  (2.4/7)
NBC   2.39  (1.9/6)
UNI   1.67
Fox   1.40  (1.1/4)
CBS   1.06  (0.8/3)
TEL   0.99
USA  0.94
TBS   0.93
DISC  0.86
HIST  0.74

Adults 25-54
ABC   3.14  (2.6/8)
NBC   2.84  (2.4/7)
UNI   1.62
Fox   1.57  (1.3/4)
CBS   1.48  (1.3/4)
USA  0.99
DISC  0.95
TEL   0.92
HIST  0.90
TBS   0.90


Total Viewers (in millions)
CBS  11.16 (+1% from last season)
ABC  7.74 (-6%)
NBC  6.93 (-3%)
Fox  6.68 (-21%)
4-Nets  32.51 (-7%)

CW  1.68 (+4%)
TEL  1.41 (+17%)
UNI  3.66 (+1%)

Adults 18-49 (Rating/share)
CBS  2.7/8 (-4%)
Fox  2.4/7 (-20%)
NBC  2.3/7 (-5%)
ABC  2.2/6 (-8%)
4-nets  9.6/28 (-9%)

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

Adults 25-54
CBS  3.6/9 (-3%)
ABC  2.8/7 (-7%)
NBC  2.8/7 (Even)
Fox  2.8/7 (-20%)
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 (+6%)
NBC  1.8/6 (-5%)
ABC  1.7/6 (-6%)
4-nets   7.4/25 (-8%)

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

More TV

  • GREY'S ANATOMY - "Let's All Go

    'Grey's Anatomy': 5 Biggest Shockers From the Season 16 Midseason Finale

    Spoilers: Do not read the following unless you have watched the season 16 mid-season finale of “Grey’s Anatomy,” titled “Let’s All Go to the Bar.” The always-dramatic “Grey’s Anatomy” made sure to ramp up the action for its Season 16 mid-season finale. Not only has Meredith Grey’s love life just gotten potentially more complicated, but [...]

  • Imelda Staunton'Downton Abbey' photocall, Rome Film

    'The Crown' Has Not Cast Imelda Staunton for Seasons 5 and 6, Netflix Says

    Netflix is shooting down reports that Imelda Staunton is joining “The Crown.” “We are currently filming season 4 of ‘The Crown’ but have not commissioned any further seasons as yet, therefore any news on casting remains pure speculation,” a Netflix spokesperson said in a statement. Staunton, known to many as the despicable Dolores Umbridge in [...]

  • Baby Yoda The Mandalorian

    Baby Yoda Merchandise to Debut Ahead of Holiday Shopping Season

    Purchase Baby Yoda toys, you will. Fans of the breakout character from the Disney Plus series “The Mandalorian” have been surprised that there was no merchandise pegged to the character available upon the launch of the show, given that the Christmas shopping season is rapidly approaching. But according to an individual with knowledge of the [...]

  • Sean "Diddy" Combs Revolt TV

    Sean Combs Slams 'Illusion of Economic Inclusion' at Comcast Amid Byron Allen Fight

    Sean Combs has come out swinging against Comcast in a lengthy statement prompted by the cable giant’s legal battle with Entertainment Studios chief Byron Allen. Combs accused Comcast of maintaining “the illusion of economic inclusion” in its handling of a carriage agreement with Combs’ Revolt TV channel. Combs was critical of Comcast for failing to [...]

  • Oprah Winfrey during a tribute to

    TV News Roundup: OWN Orders Celebrity Relationship Series '#LoveGoals'

    In today’s TV news roundup, OWN orders a new unscripted relationship series and Disney Channel orders new seasons of “The Owl House” and “Sydney to the Max.”  DATES ABC will live broadcast the “2020 NCAA Gymnastics Championship Final” on April 18. The semi finals will air the day before at 1 and 6 p.m. ET. [...]

  • Sissy book cover

    Showtime to Develop Series Based on Jacob Tobia Memoir 'Sissy' (EXCLUSIVE)

    Showtime is developing a half-hour dramedy based on Jacob Tobia’s memoir, Variety has learned exclusively. Tobia is a non-binary LGBTQ rights activist, actor, producer, and author. Their memoir, “Sissy: A Coming-of-Gender Story,” was published earlier this year by Putnam Books at Penguin Random House. The series, currently titled “Sissy,” would follow Tobi Gibran, a non-binary college [...]

  • Invisible Stories from HBO Asia

    Singapore Festival: HBO Asia Tells ‘Invisible Stories’

    HBO Asia has expanded its burgeoning production slate with six-episode half-hour series “Invisible Stories.” The first two episodes of the show, “Lian” and “Chuan,” play at the Singapore International Film Festival on Nov. 28. The series is by writer and director Ler Jiyuan, who previously directed part of HBO Asia Original series “Grisse.” “Like 80% [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content