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%)

Popular on Variety

More TV

  • Masters of the Universe: Revelation

    Kevin Smith Announces Anime 'He-Man' Series for Netflix

    Kevin Smith surprised audiences at Sunday’s annual Power-Con convention by announcing a new anime “He-Man” series for Netflix. The new series, titled “Masters of the Universe: Revelation,” will take place in the Mattel toy inspired world and will focus on some of the unresolved storylines of the classic ‘80s show. Smith will serve as showrunner [...]

  • T.J. Dillashaw, right, kicks Cody Garbrandt

    Disney Plans UFC Broadcast for FX

    UFC matches will return to FX  – but not on a permanent basis. ESPN has been showing preliminary bouts to UFC pay-per-view events for the last while on ESPN and ESPN2, and then showing the main card on its ESPN+ subscription video service. In September, the early lineup will air on FX, which the UFC [...]

  • George RR Martin

    George R.R. Martin Says HBO's 'Game of Thrones' Ending Won't Influence Future Novels

    Geroge R.R. Martin is sticking to his original plan when it comes to the future of “Game of Thrones.” In an interview with The Observer, Martin claimed that HBO’s controversial ending for the series would have no affect on the endings of the last two novels. “No, it doesn’t. It doesn’t change anything at all,” [...]

  • Listen: 'Pennyworth' Producer Talks Delving into

    Listen: 'Pennyworth' Executive Producer Talks Delving into Alfred's Backstory

    Bruno Heller may have served as an executive producer on the Batman-inspired series “Gotham” for the past five years, but it’s actually real-life people (not superheroes) that intrigue the producer the most. It’s for that exact reason that Heller’s newest series finds him exploring the origin stories of Batman’s butler Alfred in the Epix drama [...]

  • "Trust Issues" - Dylan and Lizzie

    'Instinct' Canceled After Two Seasons

    CBS has canceled “Instinct” after two seasons. Series creator Michael Rauch announced the cancellation Friday on Twitter, writing, “I’m very sad to relay the news that @instinctcbs won’t be renewed for a 3rd season. We will double up this Sunday and our season/series finale will be Aug 25.” Rauch also thanked series stars Alan Cumming [...]

  • Maisel Day

    My Mostly OK Maisel Day (Column)

    When Amazon announced its first-ever Maisel Day, I was intrigued. For one day, Aug. 15, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” fans and Angelenos (fangelenos?) could hit up various restaurants, theaters and retailers throughout Los Angeles for special deals, all at 1959 prices. Among the gems: $2.50 makeovers, $0.99 pastrami sandwiches and $0.30 for a gallon of [...]

  • Nordisk Film & TV Fond Announces

    Nordisk Film & TV Fond Backs Joachim Trier, Ole Bornedal, Yellow Bird

    Nordisk Film & TV Fond has announced three features, two series and a documentary set to receive $1.4m in financing, as well as distribution, dubbing and cultural initiative support recipients. Doing so, it highlights some of the key titles moving forward in the Nordic region. Already backed by the Danish Film Institute’s largest ever grant [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content