ABC combined the largest viewership for Game 3 of the NBA Finals since 1998 and its Sunday game show block topping the Tonys for its second consecutive weekly prime-time ratings victory, according to live-plus- same-day figures released Tuesday by Nielsen.
The back-to-back victories were ABC’s first since it won three consecutive weeks during the 2016 NBA Finals. ABC’s only victory between the 2016 and 2017 finals was the week it aired the Oscars.
ABC averaged 6.76 million viewers for its prime-time programming between June 5 and Sunday.
The order following ABC among the major broadcast networks was unchanged from a week earlier. NBC was second, averaging 5.5 million viewers, CBS third, averaging 4.81 million, and Fox fourth, averaging 2.07 million.
The Golden State Warriors’ 118-113 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 3 of the NBA Finals on Wednesday was the week’s most-watched prime-time program, averaging 20.099 million viewers.
Cleveland’s 137-116 victory in Game 4 Friday was second for the week, averaging 19.013 million viewers. The finals’ four-game average of 19.374 million was the largest since the 1998 series between the Chicago Bulls and Utah Jazz, Michael Jordan’s last finals appearance, which aired on NBC.
Each element of ABC’s summer Sunday game show block — “Celebrity Family Feud,” “Steve Harvey’s Thunderdome” and “The $100,000 Pyramid” — beat CBS’ coverage of the 71st Tony Awards in their time slots.
The season premiere of “Celebrity Family Feud” was seventh for the week, averaging 7.026 million viewers from 8-9 p.m. The premiere of “Steve Harvey’s Thunderdome,” which followed, was 12th for the week, averaging 6.148 million.
“The $100,000 Pyramid” completed the block by averaging 5.544 million viewers, 17th for the week.
Viewership for the Tony Awards dropped 30.6 percent from last year to 6.053 million viewers, 13th for the week, nine slots lower than a year ago. The 2016 ceremony, boosted by national interest in the fate of “Hamilton,” averaged 8.724 million viewers, its most since 2001.
The Tony Awards also trailed NBC’s coverage of Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final, which averaged 6.985 million viewers, eighth for the week, opposite the Tony Awards in the Eastern and Central time zones. Viewership was up 29.2 percent from the 5.407 million average from Game 6 of the 2016 Stanley Cup Final.
For the second time in television’s two-week-old summer season, NBC had the two most-watched entertainment programs. “America’s Got Talent” was third for the week, averaging 12.528 million viewers, followed by “World of Dance,” which averaged 8.417 million viewers, 13.3 percent less than its 9.712 million average for its premiere a week earlier.
Viewership dropped 41.8 percent for the second episode of the NBC news magazine “Sunday Night with Megyn Kelly” from the first, averaging 3.608 million viewers, 46th for the week. The premiere a week earlier averaged 6.197 million viewers, 10th for the week.
The week’s most-watched prime-time cable program was the Thursday broadcast of “Hannity” on Fox News Channel, which averaged 3.353 million viewers, 47th overall.
Fox News Channel was the most-watched cable network in prime time for the third consecutive week, eighth time in 11 weeks and 17th in the past 21, averaging 2.327 million viewers, a 5.4 percent increase from its 2.207-million average a week earlier.
MSNBC averaged 1.805 million viewers to finish second, a spot higher than the previous week. Its viewership was up 36.3 percent from its 1.324- million average a week earlier.
The most-watched Spanish-language prime-time program was Univision’s coverage of the Mexico-U.S. 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifier which averaged 4.179 million viewers to finish 38th overall. The game’s English-language broadcast on cable’s Fox Sports 1 averaged 2.052 million viewers.
Univision was the most-watched Spanish-language network for the 31st consecutive week and 33rd time in 34 weeks, averaging 1.72 million viewers, a 17 percent increase from its 1.47 million average a week earlier.
Telemundo was second, averaging 880,000 viewers, followed by UniMas, which averaged 760,000 viewers, Estrella TV, which averaged 230,000, and Azteca America, which averaged 70,000.
ABC’s “World News Tonight with David Muir” was the most-watched nightly network newscast for the second consecutive week, averaging 7.545 million viewers for its Monday, Tuesday and Thursday newscasts.
The Wednesday and Friday newscasts were not included in the weekly average because of scheduling changes caused by coverage of Games 3 and 4 of the NBA Finals.
The “NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt” was second, averaging 7.027 million viewers.
The “CBS Evening News” was third, averaging 5.885 million viewers.
The week’s 10 most-watched prime-time programs were ABC’s coverage of Games 3 and 4 of the NBA Finals; NBC’s “America’s Got Talent,” and “World of Dance”; CBS’ “60 Minutes”; NBC’s “Little Big Shots”; the Sunday broadcast of ABC’s “Celebrity Family Feud”; NBC’s coverage of Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final; CBS’ “NCIS”; and a Thursday rerun of “Celebrity Family Feud.”
—City News Service