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NBA Finals on ABC Hits 2014 High, Tops Other Nets Combined

Another surprising blowout victory by the San Antonio Spurs in Game 4 has produced the top preliminary ratings result for the 2014 NBA Finals, with ABC beating its rivals combined on Thursday. NBC’s “Last Comic Standing” remained the top original entertainment series on the night, but fell off opposite the big game, while the net’s comedy “Undateable” held up a bit better.

According to preliminary national estimates from Nielsen, ABC’s stations averaged a 5.2 rating/17 share in adults 18-49 and 12.8 million viewers overall from 9 to 11 p.m., with these numbers expected to rise by more than 10% when the game’s full duration and West Coast viewing are included. In the 9-11 p.m. window, ABC beat its combined CBS-NBC-Fox competition in 18-49 (5.2 to 3.9) and total viewers (12.8 million vs. 11.4 million).

In Nielsen’s metered-market overnights, the NBA Finals on Thursday averaged a 10.6 household rating — ahead of Games 1 (10.4), 2 (10.2) and 3 (10.3). The broadcast peaked with a 12.0 rating between 11 and 11:15 p.m. ET.

The Spurs’ 107-86 victory, which gave them a 3-1 advantage in the best-of-seven championship series, did a 47.4 rating in the San Antonio market, up from a 43.7 for Game 4 of last year when the same teams met in the Finals. The game did a 28.8 in Miami.

Game 5 in the series is Sunday night on ABC.

Among entertainment series on Thursday, CBS’ repeat of “The Big Bang Theory” ranked best (2.0 rating/8 share in adults 18-49, 8.2 million viewers overall). The net fell off the rest of the way with encores of “Mom” (1.4/5 in 18-49, 6.3 million viewers overall), “Two and a Half Men” (1.2/4 in 18-49,  5.5 million viewers overall), “The Millers” (0.9/3 in 18-49, 3.0 million viewers overall) and “Elementary” (0.6/2 in 18-49, 3.9 million viewers overall).

Fox edged out CBS, NBC and Univision as the top non-sports broadcaster with its combo of “Hell’s Kitchen” (1.6/6 in 18-49, 4.8 million viewers overall) and “Gang Related” (0.8/3 in 18-49, 2.7 million viewers overall), with the former down a tick and the latter holding steady week-to-week. “Kitchen” was the top non-sports Big Four series in its hour in all 18-34 demos.

At NBC, “Hollywood Game Night” (1.0/4 in 18-49, 4.3 million viewers overall) was down a tick in the demo and up a little in total viewers. It was followed by back-to-back episodes of firstrun comedy “Undateable” at 9 (1.0/3 in 18-49, 3.3 million viewers overall) and 9:30 p.m. (0.9/3 in 18-49, 3.0 million viewers overall); the first episode matched last week’s 18-49 score, and the latter was down a tick (though it could match last week’s 9:30 average in the nationals), with both episodes up in total viewers.

All six episodes of “Undateable” to date have out-rated every episode of all three of last summer’s original comedies on the Big Four (NBC’s “Save Me” and Fox’s “Anger Management” and “The Goodwin Games”) in adults 18-49.

Closing the night for NBC was “Last Comic Standing” (1.2/4 in 18-49, 4.1 million viewers overall), which was down two tenths from last week for its lowest score of the summer.

CW aired repeats of “The Vampire Diaries” (0.2/1 in 18-49, 0.6 million viewers overall) and its spinoff “The Originals” (0.2/1 in 18-49, 0.6 million viewers overall).

Preliminary 18-49 averages for the night: ABC, 4.2/14; Fox, 1.2/4; CBS, NBC and Univision, 1.1/4; Telemundo, 0.7/2; CW, 0.2/1.

In total viewers: ABC, 10.6 million; CBS, 5.4 million; NBC, 3.8 million; Fox, 3.7 million; Univision, 2.8 million; Telemundo, 1.6 million; CW, 0.6 million.

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