Nielsen Ratings June 5, 2008: Dream NBA Finals Matchup Doesn't Produce Dreamy Primetime Nielsen Ratings

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June 6th, 2008

Scoreboard for Thurs. June 5, 2008 ABC FOX CBS NBC CW
Total Viewers (million) 9.49 9.08 8.75 5.03 1.74
Rating/Share: Adults 18-49 3.7/11 3.3/10 2.3/7 2.1/6 0.6/2

Bill Gorman and I make our fair share of small wagers, though usually they are far, far into the future. But I bet him lunch that the NBA Finals would average less than 15 million viewers per game. I saw the preliminary morning household ratings and thought uh-oh! But like always, they were wrong. Numbers for live sporting events always change but during the primetime portion (and yes I know, the fourth quarter probably was peak viewing) ABC for the whole night averaged under 10 million viewers (including Jimmy Kimmel and pre-game coverage).

A good game between storied rivals didn't produce stellar ratings.

Bill acknowledges that to get big numbers the series will have to go six or seven games, but it's now looking like this game did under 12 million viewers even once the last hour or so gets added back in. But the series could well go six or seven games. When I have final numbers I'll post them. For now, as far as ABC goes the half hourly data for the whole night is posted below. Either way, ABC wound up with the most viewers and the best 18-49 year old performance, but Lakers vs. Celtics significantly underperformed last Thursday when ABC ran with three hours of LOST (a repeat and the two hour finale).

In other news, So You Think You Can Dance is still very solid, and Last Comic Standing is still getting little interest from viewers. At 10pm there was a battle of new shows with CBS' Swingtown easily beating NBC's Fear Itself. Swingtown averaged over three million more viewers than Fear Itself (8.58mm to 5.23mm) and outperformed it in the demo as well (2.8/8 vs. 2.0/6). I'd say that CBS is pretty happy while NBC is pretty disappointed. But NBC might be so used to this that it may in fact be happy that it averaged over a 2.0 in the 18-49 demo for the night.

We'll post the numbers for the whole NBA Final (including the non primetime portion) as soon as we can. Update: they have been posted. (13.38 million viewers and an 8.7 household rating).

Thursday night's details:

Time Network Show Viewers (Millons) 18-49 Rating/Share
8:00 CBS CSI (R ) 8.23 1.9/4
  FOX So You Think You Can Dance 8p-10p 9.08 3.3/10
NBC Last Comic Standing 8:00p-10:00p 4.94 2.1/6
  CW Smallville (R ) 1.70 0.6/2
9:00 CBS CSI (R ) 9.43 2.3/7
CW Supernatural (R ) 1.77 0.6/2
10:00 CBS Swingtown 8.58 2.8/8
  NBC Fear Itself 5.23 2.0/6
    Half-hourly data for ABC    
8:00 ABC Jimmy Kimmel Live Special 8.22 2.9/10
8:30 ABC NBA Pregame (?) 8.94 3.4/11
9:00 ABC NBA Finals: Los Angeles Lakers vs. Boston Celtics 9.19 3.6/11
9:30 ABC NBA Finals: Los Angeles Lakers vs. Boston Celtics 10.00 3.9/11
10:00 ABC NBA Finals: Los Angeles Lakers vs. Boston Celtics 10.26 4.1/12
10:30 ABC NBA Finals: Los Angeles Lakers vs. Boston Celtics 10.35 4.3/13

Nielsen Ratings Source: Nielsen Media Research. Full night's results available via Marc Berman/Mediaweek.

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