Photo via Pixabay
Photo via Pixabay

CBS’ coverage of the Tony Awards drew its largest audience since 2001, but still finished behind the NBC talent competition “America’s Got Talent” and two NBA Finals games on ABC.

Sunday’s 70th Tony Awards averaged 8.72 million viewers, fourth among prime-time broadcast and cable programs airing between June 6 and Sunday, according to live-plus-same day figures released today by Nielsen.

Viewership was up 35 percent from the 6.46 million average for last year’s ceremony, which aired at the same time in most of the nation as Game 2 of the NBA Finals. This year’s ceremony did not air opposite an NBA Finals game.

The most-watched Tony ceremony on record was in 1974, when an average of 20.03 million viewers watched ABC’s coverage in an era when viewers had fewer alternatives than watching programming from the three major broadcast networks.

Individual viewership records are available from 1974-76 and annually since 1988.

Game 4 of the NBA Finals on Friday was the week’s most-watched program, averaging 16.57 million viewers. Viewership for the Golden State Warriors’ 108- 97 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers was 16.5 percent below the 19.84 million average for Game 4 of the 2015 finals, which was played on a Thursday when television viewership is customarily larger.

The Cavaliers’ 120-90 victory in Game 3 on Wednesday was the second for the week, averaging 16.47 million viewers. That’s 12.3 percent below the 18.77 million average for Game 3 of the 2015 finals, which was played on a Tuesday and was won by Cleveland 96-91.

Through four games, the finals are averaging 17.43 million viewers, 7.7 percent below than the 18.89 million average for the first four games of the 2015 finals.

The week’s only other program to average more than 9 million viewers was “America’s Got Talent,” averaged 10.79 million viewers to finish third for the week.

The HBO fantasy drama “Game of Thrones” was the week’s most-watched cable program, averaging 7.6 million viewers, putting it fifth overall.

The NBA Finals made ABC the most-watched network for the second time in the two full weeks of television’s summer season, averaging 6.58 million viewers. The network’s most-watched programs outside of the NBA Finals were the Monday and Tuesday episodes of “The Bachelor,” seventh and ninth for the week, respectively, averaging 6.9 million and 6.77 million viewers.

CBS was second, averaging 5.43 million, followed by NBC, which averaged 5.09 million.

Fox averaged 2.12 million, finishing fourth among the English-language broadcast networks and sixth among all networks, trailing the Spanish-language network Univision, which averaged 2.22 million, and cable’s Fox News Channel, which averaged 2.13 million, the most among cable networks.

Fox’s most-watched program was the cooking competition “MasterChef,” which averaged 4.08 million, 40th for the week.

Univision was bolstered by its coverage of soccer’s Copa America Centenario tournament, topped by Thursday’s Mexico-Jamaica game which averaged 5.1 million viewers, 18th for the week.

NBC’s coverage of Game 5 of hockey’s Stanley Cup Final, which aired partially against the soccer, averaged 5.01 million viewers, tying for 21st for the week.

UniMas, which also aired coverage of Copa America Centenario, had a rare second place finish among Spanish-language networks, averaging 1.49 million viewers, followed by the usual second-place finisher, Telemundo, which averaged 1.38 million. Estrella TV was fourth, averaging 170,000 viewers, followed by MundoMax (90,000) and Azteca America ( 80,000).

ABC’s “World News Tonight with David Muir” was the most-watched network nightly newscast for the fourth consecutive week, averaging 8.23 million viewers. The “NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt” averaged 7.34 million viewers to finish second, followed by the “CBS Evening News” anchored by Scott Pelley with 6.37 million viewers.

The week’s 10 most-watched prime-time programs wereGames 4 and 3 of the NBA Finals on ABC; NBC’s “America’s Got Talent”; CBS’ coverage of the Tony Awards; HBO’s “Game of Thrones”; CBS’ “60 Minutes”; the Monday edition of ABC’s “The Bachelorette”; CBS’ “NCIS”; the Tuesday edition of ABC’s “The Bachelorette”; and CBS’ “The Big Bang Theory.”

–City News Service

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