NBA conference finals games accounted for four of the seven most-watched prime-time programs between May 16 and Sunday, with TNT’s coverage of Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals finishing first for the week, according to live-plus-same-day figures released by Tuesday by Nielsen.
The Golden State Warriors’ 109-100 victory over the Dallas Mavericks Sunday to take a three games to none lead in the best-of-seven series averaged 7.416 million viewers.
Two other programs topped the 7-million mark, the CBS crime drama “FBI,” which averaged 7.145 million viewers, and the fifth season finale of the CBS comedy “Young Sheldon,” which averaged 7.058 million.
CBS had four of the 10 most-watched prime-time programs to finish first for the 13th time in the 13 weeks following the conclusion of NBC’s coverage of the Winter Olympics, and the 19th time in the 35-week-old 2021-22 television season, averaging 4.39 million viewers.
CBS’ average included the 50-minute overrun of its coverage of Sunday’s final round of the PGA Championship into prime time which averaged 8.79 million viewers. The runover is not considered a separate program.
ABC was second, averaging 3.74 million viewers. Its most-watched program was the Miami Heat’s 109-103 victory over the Boston Celtics in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals Saturday which averaged 6.805 million viewers, fourth for the week.
NBC was third, averaging 2.95 million. “Chicago Fire” was its most- watched program, fifth for the week and third among non-sports programs, averaging 6.791 million viewers.
CBS, ABC and NBC all aired 22 hours of prime-time programming.
Fox averaged 2.03 million viewers for its 15 hours of prime-time programming, topped by the procedural drama “9-1-1,” 16th for the week and 10th among non-sports programs, averaging 5.545 million viewers. “9-1-1” has been Fox’s most-watched program all eight times an original episode has aired since March 21.
The CW averaged 370,000 viewers for its 14 hours of programming. Its most-watched program was the 8 p.m. Saturday rerun of the comedy improv series, “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” which averaged 569,000 viewers, 179th among broadcast programs. Its overall rank was not available.
The 20 most-watched prime-time programs consisted of nine programs that aired on CBS — seven scripted series episodes, the news magazine “60 Minutes” and the alternative series “Survivor”; six NBA conference finals games — three on TNT, two on ESPN and one on ABC; the three elements of NBC’s “Chicago” franchise — “Chicago Fire,” “Chicago Med” and “Chicago P.D.”; ABC’s “American Idol”; and Fox’s “9-1-1.”
Three NBA Western Conference Finals games made TNT the most-watched cable network for the fourth time in five weeks, averaging 2.78 million viewers. Two NBA Eastern Conference Finals games made ESPN the second-most- watched cable network, averaging 2.267 million viewers.
Fox News Channel was third after back-to-back second-place finishes, averaging 2.255 million, the other cable network to average more than 1 million viewers for its prime-time programming.
The cable top 20 consisted of 11 Fox News Channel political talk shows — five broadcasts of “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” four of “Hannity” and two of “The Ingraham Angle”; five NBA conference finals games — three on TNT and two on ESPN; two nine-minute “NBA Courtside” pregame shows on ESPN; the ninth season finale of the Hallmark Channel period drama “When Calls The Heart”; and Fox Sports 1’s coverage of the NASCAR All-Star Race.
An episode of the Univision telenovela “Madre” was the most-watched Spanish-language program for the ninth time in 12 weeks, with the Monday episode averaging 2.172 million viewers, 73rd overall.
Univision was the most-watched Spanish-language network for the 129th consecutive week and 131st time in 132 weeks, averaging 1.4 million viewers. Telemundo was second, averaging 800,000 viewers, followed by UniMas (520,000), Estrella TV (130,000) and Azteca America (40,000).
ABC’s “World News Tonight with David Muir” was the most-watched nightly newscast for the 128th time in 129 weeks and 180th time in 182 weeks, averaging 7.372 million viewers. “NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt” was second, averaging 6.075 million.
The “CBS Evening News with Norah O’Donnell” was third, averaging 4.489 million.
The week’s 10 most-watched prime-time programs were TNT’s coverage of Game 3 of the NBA’s Western Conference Finals; CBS’ “FBI” and “Young Sheldon”; ABC’s coverage of Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals; NBC’s “Chicago Fire”; TNT’s coverage of Games 2 and 1 of the NBA’s Western Conference Finals; CBS’ “NCIS”; ABC’s “American Idol”; CBS’ “60 Minutes.”