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Start of NBA finals scores biggest with TV viewers

TELEVISION & RADIO | Prime-Time TV Rankings

June 09, 2004|Scott Collins

Sunday's showdown between "The Sopranos" and the Lakers-Pistons game touched off a ratings battle between HBO and ABC.

HBO told reporters Tuesday morning that the fifth-season finale of "Sopranos," which netted 11 million total viewers, had beaten its broadcast rivals during the crucial 9 p.m. hour. But due to time-zone differences, HBO evidently was not counting West Coast viewership for ABC's basketball telecast, which averaged 15.4 million viewers nationwide and was the week's most-watched program, according to figures released Tuesday by Nielsen Media Research.

However the counting was done, "The Sopranos" was down significantly from its earlier ratings heights, although it still delivered powerful numbers for a subscription-only network. The series dipped 12% from its fourth-season finale in December 2002 (12.5 million viewers). But fewer people watch TV in June than in December. Moreover, since late last year, ratings for each of HBO's networks have been reported individually rather than cumulatively, which has resulted in somewhat less impressive numbers for individual programs.

Overall for the week ending June 6 -- the first full week of the summer TV season -- CBS took the prize for viewers (8.2 million), followed by NBC (8 million), ABC (5.8 million) and Fox (4.8 million), according to figures provided by Nielsen Media Research.

CBS had five of the week's six most-watched programs, including a Thursday repeat of "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation" (14.9 million) and a "CSI: Miami" special Monday (14.2 million). NBC's most-watched program was No. 7 "Law & Order" (12.3 million), with Tuesday's "Miss Universe Pageant" (10.5 million) clocking in at No. 9. Fox hit its highest viewership figures with Saturday's "America's Most Wanted: America Fights Back" (7.5 million).

Among the viewers aged 18-to-49 demographic, a key category for advertisers, NBC narrowly took first place, with CBS and ABC tied for second and Fox fourth. The NBA game was the week's top-rated program in that demographic.

Scott Collins

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(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX)

Here are the rankings for national prime-time network television last week (May 31-June 6) as compiled by Nielsen Media Research. They are based on the average number of people who watched a program from start to finish. Nielsen estimates there are 272.04 million potential viewers in the U.S. age 2 and older. Viewership is listed in millions.

*--* Program Net- work View- ers Program Net- work View- ers

*--*

*--* 1 "NBA Finals, Game 1" ABC 15.36 2 CSI CBS 14.92 3 CSI: Miami CBS 14.15 4 Everybody Loves Raymond CBS 13.40 5 Two and a Half Men (Mon.) CBS 13.37

6 Without a Trace CBS 13.26 7 Law & Order (Wed., 10 p.m.) NBC 12.34 8 Crossing Jordan NBC 11.60 9 "Miss Universe Pageant" NBC 10.48 10 Law & Order (Wed., 9 p.m.) NBC 10.30

11 60 Minutes CBS 9.76 12 Law & Order: Criminal Intent NBC 9.70 13 Fear Factor (Mon.) NBC 9.30 14 48 Hours Mystery CBS 9.17 15 Dateline: NBC (Fri.) NBC 8.99

16 60 Minutes II CBS 8.96 17 Navy NCIS CBS 8.48 18 Still Standing CBS 8.26 19 My Wife & Kids (8:30 p.m.) ABC 8.00 20 Friends NBC 7.91

21 King of Queens CBS 7.60 22 Yes, Dear CBS 7.58 23 Two and a Half Men (Wed.) CBS 7.50 24 America's Most Wanted FOX 7.49 25 "Most Outrageous Game Show Moments 5" NBC 7.46

26 20/20 (Fri.) ABC 7.46 27 Judging Amy CBS 7.33 28 Las Vegas (Fri.) NBC 7.30 29 "Primetime Special Edition" (Tue.) ABC 7.23 30 My Wife & Kids ABC 7.23

31 That '70s Show (8:30 p.m.) FOX 7.11 32 That '70s Show (9 p.m.) FOX 7.04 33 Dateline: NBC (Sun.) NBC 7.02 34 Will & Grace NBC 6.99 35 Fear Factor (Tue.) NBC 6.98

36 According to Jim ABC 6.96 37 Come to Papa NBC 6.80 38 The Simpsons FOX 6.67 39 Cops (8:30 p.m.) FOX 6.62 40 Less Than Perfect ABC 6.52

41 That '70s Show (8 p.m.) FOX 6.50 42 That '70s Show (9 p.m.) FOX 6.48 43 "Tony Awards" CBS 6.46 44 ER NBC 6.26 45 Joan of Arcadia (Thu.) CBS 6.20

46 America's Funniest Home Videos ABC 6.20 47 "NBA Hangtime Finals" ABC 5.95 48 The Drew Carey Show (9 p.m.) ABC 5.93 49 "One That Got Away" NBC 5.91 50 Scrubs NBC 5.90

51 JAG CBS 5.85 52 "Deep Impact" CBS 5.80 53 Cops FOX 5.73 54 Law & Order (Sat.) NBC 5.65 55 8 Simple Rules ABC 5.52

56 "Dateline Reagan Special" NBC 5.51 57 48 Hours Investigates CBS 5.30 58 The Drew Carey Show (9:30 p.m.) ABC 5.28 59 The Guardian CBS 5.14 60 WWE Smackdown! UPN 5.12

61 I'm With Her ABC 5.11 62 Arrested Development (8:30 p.m.) FOX 5.08 63 George Lopez ABC 5.01 64 "Scream 2" FOX 4.92 65 Married to the Kellys ABC 4.72

66 The Ultimate Love Test ABC 4.72 67 Restaurant 2 NBC 4.67 68 Hope & Faith ABC 4.58 69 Summerland WB 4.58 70 Joan of Arcadia (Fri.) CBS 4.56

71 Stanley Cup Final, Game 6 ABC 4.27 72 Life With Bonnie ABC 4.22 73 Malcolm in the Middle FOX 4.14 74 "Cats & Dogs" FOX 4.12 75 King of the Hill FOX 3.94

76 Stanley Cup Final, Game 5 ABC 3.69 77 Arrested Development (9:30 p.m.) FOX 3.67 78 O.C. (9 p.m.) FOX 3.30 79 "Summer Music Mania '04" FOX 3.29 80 Stanley Cup Final, Game 4 ABC 3.15

81 O.C. FOX 3.11 82 Summerland WB 3.09 83 Reba WB 2.93 84 Oliver Beene FOX 2.67 85 One on One UPN 2.63

86 7th Heaven WB 2.51 87 Superstar USA WB 2.51 88 All of Us UPN 2.49 89 "Brothers" WB 2.41 90 One on One (9 p.m.) UPN 2.40

91 Eve UPN 2.28 92 What I Like About You WB 2.23 93 Grounded for Life (9:30 p.m.) WB 2.17

*--*

Network averages

Here is the number of viewers (in millions) that each network averaged per hour of prime time, for last week and for the season.

*--* Network Last week Season to date CBS 8.17 12.86

NBC 7.99 10.85

ABC 5.79 8.85

FOX 4.76 9.55

WB 2.72 3.59

UPN 2.57 3.35

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