Surprising no one, ABC and the first game of the NBA Finals dominated Thursday night, as Kobe and the Lakers crushed the Magic, and the prime-time portion of the game did 12% better than last’s years game 1 in the fast affiliates 18-49 demo ratings.

While these fast affiliate ratings do not include the 11pm+ portion of the game, ABC has to be happy with the prime time portion which did better than last season’s opener. Although last season’s game 1 was a close one and got a boost from the end, this year the game was a blow out late and the numbers likely suffered. We will post the final numbers as soon as we see them.

It’s not clear what NBC might have been expecting from the premiere of The Listener, it didn’t do well (we’re told it was NBC’s lowest summer series debut rating ever), but the real test will be its first outing without NBA competition.

Fox’s So You Think You Can Dance was down 16% in the demo from last Thursday. Still, a 3.1 demo vs. the NBA Finals is good news for the show.

NBC’s I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here was up 9% in the demo from Wednesday (bad number reading on my part!) plunged 42% in the demo from Wednesday night, but and in many parts of the country it faced the NBA Finals, so I don’t read too much into that number.

Full details:

Time Net Show 18-49 Rating 18-49 Share 18-34 Rating 18-34 Share Viewers Live+SD (Millons)
8:00 ABC Jimmy Kimmel Live 2.7 10 2.8 11 7.529
NBC I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here! 1.9 6 1.5 5 5.175
FOX Bones (repeat) 1.6 5 1.3 5 6.145
CBS Big Bang Theory (repeat) 1.6 6 1.0 4 5.822
CW Smallville (repeat) 0.4 1 0.4 2 1.384
8:30 ABC NBA Countdown 2.8 9 2.9 10 7.030
CBS New Adventures of Old Christine (repeat) 1.4 4 0.8 3 5.220
9:00 ABC NBA Finals: Game 1 4.4 12 4.6 14 10.479
FOX So You Think You Can Dance 3.1 9 3.1 9 8.203
NBC The Listener (premiere) 1.5 4 0.9 3 5.249
CBS CSI (repeat) 1.5 4 0.8 2 7.666
CW Supernatural (repeat) 0.5 1 0.5 1 1.231
10:00 ABC NBA Finals: Game 1 4.5 12 4.7 14 10.460
CBS The Mentalist (repeat) 1.9 5 1.4 4 8.556
NBC The Listener (premiere) 1.4 4 0.8 2 5.343

Because of the live NBA Finals telecast, all results for ABC are approximate and subject to more than typical adjustment. See below for more information.

For comparison, here is our Overnight report for last year’s first game in the NBA Finals.

You can see TV ratings from past Thursday overnight reports here.


Shows are sorted from highest 18-49 rating to lowest in each time slot.

Nielsen TV Ratings: ©2009 The Nielsen Company. All Rights Reserved. 


Fast Affiliate Ratings: These first national ratings, including demographics, are available at approximately 11 AM (ET) the day after telecast, and are released to subscribing customers daily. These data, from the National People Meter sample, are strictly time-period information, based on the normal broadcast network feed, and include all programming on the affiliated stations, sometimes including network programming, sometimes not. The figures may include stations that did not air the entire network feed, as well as local news breaks or cutaways for local coverage or other programming. Fast Affiliate ratings are not as useful for live programs and are likely to differ significantly from the final results, because the data reflect normal broadcast feed patterns. For example, with a World Series game, Fast Affiliate Ratings would include whatever aired from 8-11PM on affiliates in the Pacific Time Zone, following the live football game, but not game coverage that begins at 5PM PT. The same would be true of Presidential debates as well as live award shows and breaking news reports.

Rating: Estimated percentage of the universe of TV households (or other specified group) tuned to a program in the average minute. Ratings are expressed as a percent.

Share (of Audience): The percent of households (or persons) using television who are tuned to a specific program, station or network in a specific area at a specific time. (See also, Rating, which represents tuning or viewing as a percent of the entire population being measured.)

Time Shifted Viewing – Program ratings for national sources are produced in three streams of data – Live, Live+Same Day (Live+SD) and Live+7 Day. Time shifted figures account for incremental viewing that takes place with DVRs which are currently in approximately 24.4% of all U.S. TV households. Live+Same Day (Live+SD) include viewing during the same broadcast day as the original telecast, with a cut-off of 3:00AM local time when meters transmit daily viewing to Nielsen for processing. Live+7 Day ratings include incremental viewing that takes place during the 7 days following a telecast.

For more information see Numbers 101 and Numbers 102.

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