ABC had its last night of basketball-fueled domination Thursday, with Miami winning at home and ending the series at five games. Nothing on the other networks had a chance of working.
ABC carried ESPN’s coverage of Game 5 of the NBA Finals, earning a preliminary 6.5 Adult 18-49 rating for the game at 9 pm ET. Previous games in the Finals have scored a low- to mid-5 rating in the fast nationals and rose to around a 7 rating in the official nationals when the viewing in the 20% of the country that saw the game at 6 pm PT was properly tabulated. The climactic Game 5 should be around an 8 rating in the official nationals later today — see update below.
UPDATE: Game 5 scored a 7.6 Adult 18-49 rating in the official nationals. The NBA Finals ratings for this year and the last few years are summarized below.
|NBA Finals 2008-12||A18-49 Rating by Game (ABC)|
|winner / runnerup||1||2||3||4||5||6||7|
|2012 Miami / OKC||6.9||7.1||6.5||7.4||7.6|
|2011 Dallas / Miami||6.5||6.5||6.1||6.7||7.4||9.7|
|2010 Lakers / Boston||5.7||6.5||6.7||6.6||7.2||7.1||11.4|
|2009 Lakers / Orlando||5.4||5.8||5.9||6.4||5.7|
|2008 Boston / Lakers||5.4||5.5||6.0||5.6||7.3||6.9|
CBS finished in its usual second-place position in the summer, with a 1.6 rating from 8-11 pm. (Since May 24 when it began its all-repeat Thursday schedule, CBS has averaged a 1.6 rating for the evening four times, once averaging a 1.7 rating on June 7). The powerful Big Bang Theory posted a 2.2 rating for its repeat at 8:00, followed closely by a 2.1 rating for a repeat 2 Broke Girls at 8:30. Repeats of Person of Interest (1.4 at 9 pm) and The Mentalist (1.1 pm at 10 pm against the heart of the basketball final) followed.
FOX finished in third place with a 1.4 rating from 8-10 pm with its tawdry duo of original dating reality shows, Take Me Out (1.2) and The Choice (1.5). Take Me Out has been relatively stable in its three outings (1.3– 1.1– 1.2), while The Choice has steadily declined after a relatively more promising start (1.8– 1.6– 1.5).
NBC simply can’t get arrested on Thursday, averaging a 0.7 rating from 8-11 pm. Part 2 of the music infomercial Justin Bieber: All Around the World struggled again to a 0.8 rating at 8 pm (down one tenth of a rating point from part one on Wednesday, about the same as the recent repeat niche comedies in the hour, and about half of last week’s special repeat America’s Got Talent at 8 pm). Saving Hope, the original medical drama, plunged to a 0.5 rating (down from a 0.7 its first two weeks). And Rock Center, featuring an exclusive interview with one of the original victims of the Beast of Happy Valley — former Penn State coach Jerry Sandusky, could only score a 0.8 rating at 10 pm (the same as last week’s rating and only one tenth of a rating point above the time period premiere June 7).
With a potential NBA Game 6 now off the schedule Sunday night, there is very little original programming on the broadcast networks this weekend. ABC’s 20/20 has an exclusive interview with Rielle Hunter tonight, and NBC has two hours of U.S. Olympic Track & Field trials Saturday at 8 and Sunday at 7. That’s it for fresh material. Ratings should be soft for the track trials, but don’t read that as an indication of vulnerability for the Summer Olympics starting July 27 on NBC. The real thing from London should be huge for most of the 17 nights of worldwide competition. The last four Summer Olympic Games have steadily increased in ratings (name another property that has done that on television). Sydney averaged an 8.2 Adult 18-49 rating for the 17 days in 2000, Athens in 2004 an 8.7, and Beijing in 2008 a 9.1 rating. Throughout the Olympics we will track the nightly performance of London and keep a close eye on how the Games compare to the recent years.