The NBA‘s decision to host a play-in tournament for the second straight season proved to be a hit with viewers, as ESPN’s telecast of the Lakers’ 103-100 victory over the Golden State Warriors has attracted the second largest audience of the season. .
Wednesday’s game attracted an average of 5.619 million viewers, the most for an ESPN NBA TV show since the 2019 Western Conference Finals, most among prime-time cable programs between May 17 and Sunday and Sunday. 12 in total, according to live numbers plus the same day released Tuesday by Nielsen.
The only NBA game this season to attract more viewers was ABC’s Christmas Day television broadcast of the Lakers’ 138-115 victory over the Dallas Mavericks, which averaged 5.674 million viewers.
Golden State’s 117-112 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies in a play-in game was second among cable programs and 32nd overall for the week, averaging 3.633 million viewers, the most for a show in the prime time Friday.
As expected, viewership increased dramatically for both cable networks showing NBA games and the playoffs. TNT was third among cable networks for the week, two spots more than the previous week, with an average of 1.391 million viewers, 53.7% more than its average of 905,000 the previous week.
ESPN finished fourth, four places up from the week before, averaging 1.375 million viewers, 88.4 percent more than its 730,000 average the week before.
Fox News Channel has won the prime-time cable networks audience race for the eighth consecutive week and the 16th time in 17 weeks, averaging 2.043 million viewers. Its most-watched program was Monday’s edition of the political talk show “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” third among cable programs and 38th overall, with an average of 3.179 million viewers.
MSNBC finished second for the third week in a row, averaging 1.434 million viewers.
The top 20 cable programs included nine programs from Fox News Channel – five from “Tucker Carlson Tonight” and four from “Hannity”; five shows on the MSNBC news and opinion program “The Rachel Maddow Show”; and six NBA games, three each on ESPN and TNT.
“NCIS” was the first prime-time show for the fourth consecutive week and the eighth time in the 2020-2021 35-week television season. “NCIS” is the only scripted series to win a week this season.
Three other CBS programs followed – “60 Minutes” (8.263 million), “FBI” (7.593 million) and “The Equalizer” (7.126 million).
NBC’s “Chicago Fire” was the highest-rated non-CBS program for the third week in a row, averaging 6.843 million viewers, fifth for the week.
“American Idol” was the leader in ABC ratings for the eighth straight week, it aired, with its season finale averaging 6.5 million viewers, seventh for the week.
Fox’s biggest audience was the procedural drama “9-1-1,” which averaged 5.927 million viewers, 10th for the week. A “9-1-1” episode was Fox’s most watched show in the 13 weeks it aired this season.
The crime drama “Walker” was The CW’s biggest circulation, averaging 1.002 million viewers, 114th among broadcast programs. His overall ranking was not available.
CBS finished first in the network race for the fourth consecutive week and the 19th time this season, averaging 4.57 million viewers. The CBS average included 11.23 million viewers for the 30-minute spillover of its coverage of Sunday’s final round of the PGA Championship, which is not considered a separate program.
The order behind CBS was the same as the previous two weeks, with NBC finishing second, averaging 3.7 million, and ABC third, averaging 3.54 million.
Fox was fourth among broadcast networks for the 17th consecutive week, averaging 2.55 million viewers. The CW was again fifth among the top five English-language broadcast networks, with an average of 510,000 viewers.
“NCIS” was the most broadcast program in the latest weekly figures released by Nielsen, covering April 19 and 25, returning to the top after a three-week absence.
A week after finishing first, “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier” fell to second place, with 796 million minutes watched, 6.9% below the 855 million minutes the week before. The latest viewership figure includes the first three days of the release of the six-part Marvel miniseries finale airing on Disney +.
“The Falcon and the Winter Soldier” was the only non-Netflix program in the Top 10. Nielsen also reports streaming viewership numbers for Hulu and Amazon Prime Video programming.