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NBA Still Tops, but Slipping

June 12, 2002|Lee Margulies

To no one's surprise, the NBA Finals topped the TV ratings last week, but with significantly smaller audiences than last year, figures from Nielsen Media Research showed Tuesday.

The third game of the Los Angeles-New Jersey showdown last Sunday drew the week's largest audience, with an average of 16.2 million people tuning in to see the Lakers move to within a game of capturing their third consecutive league championship. But that was 20% lower than the figure for Game 3 last year, and 32% below the tune-in for the Lakers' seventh-game playoff against the Sacramento Kings just a week earlier.

Similarly, Game 1 this year was down nearly 15% from last year, and Game 2 was down 25%.

Still, that showing, combined with good numbers for the second-season return of "Spy TV," pushed NBC to the No. 1 position among the networks. The 8:30 p.m. Tuesday outing of "Spy TV," a "Candid Camera"-type comedy that premiered last summer, garnered the second-largest audience in the show's history and beat ABC's "The Mole II."

With the networks' prime-time schedules filled mostly with reruns of entertainment series, the newsmagazines proved a popular alternative with many viewers. Four of them finished among the week's 20 most-watched programs.



National Nielsen Viewership

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