Cable telecasts of NBA conference finals games accounted for the top two prime-time programs and three of top four in the latest prime-time weekly ratings, which mixed the final three days of the official television season with the first four days of television’s summer season.
TNT’s coverage of Game 6 of the Eastern Conference was the week’s most- watched prime-time program, with the Boston Celtics’ buzzer-beating 104-103 victory over the Miami Heat Saturday averaging 8.711 million viewers, the most for a Game 6 of an Eastern Conference finals on TNT and the most on any network in 11 years, according to live-plus-same-day figures released by Nielsen Wednesday.
NBA playoff coverage made TNT the most-watched cable network for the sixth consecutive week, averaging 3.117 million viewers. ESPN’s coverage of Game 4 of the NBA Western Conference finals helped it to its fifth consecutive second-place finish, averaging 1.776 million viewers.
The Denver Nuggets’ series-clinching 113-111 victory May 22 averaged 8.211 million viewers, second for the week, and the most for a Game 4 of a conference finals series on ESPN since 2015.
The most-watched non-sports program was the 20th-season finale of the CBS action drama “NCIS,” which averaged 6.728 million viewers, third for the week.
CBS was the most-watched network for the 11th consecutive week, the 14th time in 15 weeks and 16th time in the last 18, averaging 3.55 million viewers.
The only times CBS has not finished first in the past 18 weeks were the weeks of Feb. 6-13, when Fox aired Super Bowl LVII, and March 6-12, when ABC aired the Oscars.
NBC was second among broadcast networks after six consecutive third- place finishes, averaging 3.55 million viewers. Its most-watched program was the season-finale of the singing competition “The Voice,” eighth for the week and fourth among non-sports programs, averaging 6.215 million viewers.
ABC dropped to third among broadcast networks and fourth overall after six consecutive second-place finishes, averaging 2.47 million viewers. The finale of “Jeopardy! Masters” was its most-watched program, averaging 6.468 million viewers, sixth for the week and third among non-sports programs.
CBS, ABC and NBC all aired 22 hours of prime-time programming.
Fox averaged 1.21 million viewers for its 15 hours, 22 minutes of prime-time programming. Its most-watched program was professional wrestling’s “WWE’s Friday Night Smackdown,” 40th for the week averaging 2.159 million viewers.
The CW averaged 300,000 viewers for its 14 hours of programming. Its most-watched program was the superhero series “Superman & Lois,” which averaged 599,000 viewers, 135th among broadcast programs, one spot below the rerun of the 1965-71 CBS rural comedy “Green Acres,” which aired at 9:30 p.m. May 25 on MeTV and averaged 609,000.
The 20 most-watched prime-time programs consisted of four NBA playoff games — three on TNT and one on ESPN; seven CBS scripted programs and an edition of its news magazine “60 Minutes” with three previously broadcast segments that were updated for the post-season edition; three episodes of “Jeopardy! Masters” on ABC; the season’s final two episodes of the NBC singing competition “The Voice”; and the season finales of the three elements of NBC’s Chicago franchise, “Chicago Fire,” “Chicago Med” and “Chicago P.D.”
Fox News Channel was first in prime time among cable news networks for the 119th consecutive week and third among cable networks for the fifth consecutive week, averaging 1.33 million viewers.
MSNBC was fourth among cable networks for the sixth consecutive week following third- and second-place finishes, averaging 1.136 million viewers. 3.1% less than its 1.127-million average the previous week.
CNN was 17th among cable networks, averaging 412,000 viewers, including trailing TBS (477,000), Bravo (472,000), Travel Channel (451,000), Paramount Network (445,000) and Investigation Discovery (440,000) .
Sunday’s series finale of “Succession” garnered a series-high 2.9 million viewers across Max and linear telecasts, topping the previous high of 2.75 million for the April 30 episode, the sixth of the 10-episode fourth season, according to a statement from the streaming service’s parent company, Warner Bros. Discovery.
There were 20 prime-entertainment programs on the five major English- language broadcast networks, including 13 scripted episodes, between May 22 and Sunday to average more than 2.9 million viewers, according to Nielsen.
The live-plus-same day viewership for the 9 p.m. HBO broadcast of the 88-minute episode was 896,000, while the total gross viewership, which includes the 12:08 a.m. and 2:13 a.m. encore broadcasts, was about 962,000, according to Nielsen.
The cable prime-time top 20 consisted of four NBA playoff games — three on TNT and one on ESPN; three NBA pregame or postgame shows — two on TNT and one on ESPN; five Fox News Channel weeknight political talk shows — three broadcasts of “Hannity” and two of “Fox News Tonight” hosted by Trey Gowdy; three MSNBC political talk shows — “The Rachel Maddow Show” and the Wednesday and Thursday editions of “The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell”; Bravo’s look at the lives of restaurateur Lisa Vanderpump and her current and former staff at West Hollywood’s SUR, “Vanderpump Rules”; TNT’s coverage of Game 4 of the NHL’s Eastern Conference finals; History’s UFO investigation series, “The Secret of Skinwalker Ranch”; and the first two of three hourlong segments of the USA Network professional wrestling show, “WWE Raw.”
Netflix’s most-watched title was the Arnold Schwarzenegger-starring action comedy “FUBAR,” whose eight episodes were watched for 88.94 million hours in their first four days of release.
Netflix’s most-watched movie for the third consecutive week was the Jennifer Lopez-starring action thriller “The Mother” with 34.69 million viewing hours, despite a 63.3% decrease in viewership from the 94.42 million hours the previous week, the first full week it was available.
The most-watched Spanish-language program was Univision’s coverage of Tigres’ 3-2 extra time victory over Chivas in the second leg of Liga MX’s 2023 Clausura final which averaged 2.94 million viewers, 29th overall.
Univision was the most-watched Spanish-language network for the 42nd consecutive week and 180th time in 182 weeks, averaging 1.02 million viewers. Telemundo was second, averaging 900,000 viewers, followed by UniMas (340,000) and Estrella TV (90,000).
ABC’s “World News Tonight with David Muir” was the most-watched nightly newscast for the 234th time in 235 weeks, averaging 7.254 million viewers. “NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt” was second, averaging 5.722 million viewers. The “CBS Evening News with Norah O’Donnell” was third, averaging 4.195 million viewers.
The week’s 10 most-watched prime-time programs were TNT’s coverage of Game 6 of the NBA’s Eastern Conference finals; ESPN’s coverage of Game 4 of the NBA’s Western Conference finals; CBS’ “NCIS”; TNT’s coverage of Game 4 of the Eastern Conference finals; the May 24 broadcast of ABC’s “Jeopardy! Masters”; TNT’s coverage of Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals; the May 23 broadcast of NBC’s “The Voice”; NBC’s “Chicago Fire”; and the May 23 broadcast of “Jeopardy! Masters.”