NEW YORK (AP) — A strong start to the NBA Finals — at least from a television viewer’s standpoint — is working to ABC’s advantage.
The Cleveland Cavaliers’ series-tying win over the Golden State Warriors on Sunday reached more than 19 million viewers, easily the most-watched television event of the week. The Nielsen company said the opening game of the series earlier in the week drew 17.8 million TV viewers.
Both games helped ABC to an easy victory in last week’s prime-time ratings competition.
The most-watched NBA Finals since 2001 was the seven-game series between the Boston Celtics and the L.A. Lakers in 2010, which averaged 18.1 million viewers over seven games. The current series could beat that if it stays competitive, since viewership generally goes up if a series goes longer than four or five games.
The matchup doesn’t feature two big television markets or teams used to winning championships, but it has two of the game’s most compelling stars — LeBron James and Stephen Curry.
Basketball easily beat Broadway, with the annual Tony Awards on Sunday reaching 6.5 million viewers, down from the past two years.
ABC averaged 7.2 million viewers in prime time. CBS had 5.9 million, NBC had 5.3 million, Fox had 3 million, Univision had 2.3 million, Telemundo had 1.3 million, ION Television had 1.2 million and the CW had 1 million.
The Disney Channel topped the cable networks, averaging 1.73 million viewers in prime time. USA had 1.67 million, HGTV had 1.62 million, Fox News Channel had 1.61 million and History had 1.52 million.
ABC’s “World News Tonight” took the see-saw competition for top evening news program last week, averaging 7.9 million viewers. NBC’s “Nightly News” had 7.8 million and the “CBS Evening News” had 6.6 million.
For the week of June 1-7, the top 10 shows, their networks and viewerships: NBA Finals, Game 2: Cleveland vs. Golden State, ABC, 19.17 million; NBA Finals, Game 1: Cleveland vs. Golden State, ABC, 17.77 million; “America’s Got Talent,” NBC, 10.84 million; “NCIS,” CBS, 8.76 million; “60 Minutes,” CBS, 8.42 million; “NCIS: New Orleans,” NBC, 8.03 million; “The Big Bang Theory,” CBS, 7.46 million; “Game of Thrones,” HBO, 7.14 million; “American Ninja Warriors,” NBC, 6.86 million; “NCIS: Los Angeles,” CBS, 6.57 million.
ABC is owned by The Walt Disney Co. CBS is owned by CBS Corp. CW is a joint venture of Warner Bros. Entertainment and CBS Corp. Fox is owned by 21st Century Fox. NBC and Telemundo are owned by Comcast Corp. ION Television is owned by ION Media Networks.
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