Hoops Lifts TNT to 2nd Ratings Win

TNT last week notched its second consecutive ratings win, as the network’s coverage of the second round of the NBA playoffs delivered a sweep of all three major demos.

According to Nielsen live-plus-same-day ratings data, TNT averaged 3.48 million total viewers during the week ended May 10, thanks to a rough-and-tumble Lakers-Rockets series and an equally physical standoff between the defending champion Boston Celtics and Dwight Howard’s Orlando Magic.

Through the first week of the conference semi-finals, TNT is up 30 percent in total viewers, averaging 4.86 million fans per telecast versus the year-ago 3.75 million.

On Wednesday night, TNT served up 6.32 million viewers as Kobe Bryant’s 40-point performance evened out the Lakers-Rockets series at a game apiece. The game drew the week’s biggest deliveries across the demos, averaging 3.94 million viewers 18-49, 3.47 million adults 25-54 and 2.21 million 18-34s.

All told, TNT boasted five of the week’s most-watched programs on ad-supported cable.

In the Monday series opener, the Rockets out-muscled the Lakers 100-92, in a gritty effort that was seen by a national TV audience of 5.4 million viewers. Meanwhile, the Celtics got the week off with a bang Sunday night as Glen “Big Baby” Davis hit a last-second jumper to tie the Boston-Orlando series at two games a piece. The 95-94 squeaker delivered 5.09 million viewers.

For the week, TNT averaged 1.95 million viewers 18-49, 1.87 million adults 25-54 and 1.02 million 18-49s.

USA Network repeated its stint as bridesmaid, hanging on in second place with 2.67 million total viewers, 1.26 million 25-54s, 1.22 million 18-49s and 558,000 18-34s. The net posted its biggest program delivery with Monday night’s WWE Raw, which drew 4.64 million viewers between 9 p.m. and 11:11 p.m.

Basketball gave ESPN a leg up, as the sports net passed Fox News Channel to take over third place in prime. With an average 1.98 million total viewers tuning in, ESPN out-delivered FNC by approximately 58,000 viewers.

ESPN also took the bronze among the three demos, averaging 1.02 million 18-49s, 1 million 25-54s and 512,000 18-34s. As Kobe Bryant lit up the Rockets for 33 points Friday night, ESPN drew 5.95 million viewers, 3.42 million of which were members of the 18-49 demo.

Fifth place went to Nickelodeon/Nick-at-Nite, which averaged 1.72 million viewers on the week.

While Kobe, Yao, Big Baby and ‘Melo had hoops fans glued to TNT and ESPN, the week’s biggest star was iCarly. The one-hour Nick special iDate a Bad Boy out-delivered the rest of the field, averaging 6.47 million viewers, an improvement of 183 percent over the network’s year-ago delivery.

The Saturday night iCarly movie also put up big numbers among the target demos, averaging 3.3 million kids 2-11 and 2.7 million kids 6-11.

Disney Channel last week finished fourth among all basic-cable nets, as the non-ad-supported net averaged 1.93 million total viewers. The Mouse edged Fox News by a slender 8,000-viewer margin.