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May Cable Ratings: TNT Again Rides NBA to Top

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TNT’s record-setting NBA Playoffs run cinched the May prime-time ratings race, as post-season hoops helped the Turner network draw an average crowd of 3.56 million total viewers.
 
According to Nielsen ratings data for April 27-May 31, TNT’s average delivery marked a 22 percent improvement over its year-ago draw (2.93 million viewers). The ratings increase was largely driven by TNT’s slate of 43 NBA Playoff games, which averaged 4.71 million viewers, up 24 percent over the net’s 2008 post-season coverage.
 
TNT last month accounted for five of ad-supported cable’s most-watched programs, including Game 4 of the NBA Eastern Conference Finals, which drew 10.1 million viewers on May 26, making it the top-rated NBA playoff game in cable TV history. Two nights later, the fifth Cavs-Magic contest delivered a hair under 10 million viewers.
 
In keeping with its NBA results, TNT also swept the three major demos, averaging 1.94 million viewers 18-49 (up 20 percent over May 2008), 1.89 million adults 25-54 (up 24 percent) and 997,000 viewers 18-34 (up 22 percent).
 
USA Network took second place on the month, averaging 2.86 million total viewers, an increase of 12 percent versus its year-ago delivery (2.53 million). The network also claimed second place among two of the three demos, averaging 1.32 million adults 25-54 (up 11 percent) and 1.24 million viewers 18-49 (up 3 percent).
 
The NBC Universal cable property was flat among the youngest of the three demos, averaging 558,000 viewers 18-34, good for a third-place finish.
 

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