The conclusion of the NBA Finals produced a higher rating than any game last year, although viewing of the series still fell well short of Michael Jordan's last title run in 1998, based on viewing estimates issued Tuesday by Nielsen Media Research.
Jordan's last-minute heroics two years ago, when Lakers Coach Phil Jackson was still with the Chicago Bulls, helped the final game attract nearly 36 million viewers, reflecting how much NBC has missed Jordan since he hung up his sneakers.
In fact, with only a single Lakers game in last week's lineup, CBS managed to edge NBC behind the strength of its summer series "Survivor," which has added viewers with each new episode, drawing higher ratings in the 8 p.m. Wednesday slot than CBS has scored with a series in more than a decade.
ABC also trotted out its first reruns of "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire," which continued to enjoy solid ratings. Newsmagazines remain the other consistent alternative to repeats of popular series, as music specials, made-for-TV award shows and promotional vehicles such as "Walt Disney World Summer Jam Concert" haven't generated much interest.
Viewers have also snubbed efforts to pass off leftover episodes of canceled programs as original summer fare, with such a dismal tune-in last week for Fox's "Time of Your Life," starring Jennifer Love Hewitt, that the network yanked the show.
Cable Top 10
Here are Nielsen's top 10 cable programs in prime time last week, also ranked by total viewers (in millions).
Net- View- Program work ers 1. Wrestling (Mon., 10 p.m.) USA 8.09 2. Wrestling (Mon., 9 p.m.) USA 6.56 3. Sex and the City HBO 3.69 4. Real World MTV 3.66 5. Wrestling (Mon., 8 p.m.) TNT 3.65 6. Rocket Power NICK 3.37 7. Wrestling (Mon., 9 p.m.) TNT 3.12 8. Rocket Power (8:30 p.m.) NICK 3.10 9. Hey Arnold NICK 3.04 10. Desert Heat USA 3.03
Here is the number of viewers that each network averaged per hour of prime time, for last week and for the season.
Last Season week to date CBS 9.64 million 12.15 NBC 9.48 12.06 ABC 8.88 13.74 FOX 5.43 8.64 UPN 3.06 3.89 WB 2.54 3.49
Here are Nielsen's Top 10 prime-time programs in the Los Angeles area during the same week. The rankings are based on the number of households watching.
Sta- House- Program tion holds 1. NBA Finals Postgame Show KNBC 2,031,064 2. Roggins Postgame Show KNBC 1,198,746 3. Survivor KCBS 769,501 4. Millionaire (Sun., 9:30) KABC 701,450 5. Millionaire (Thur., 9:30) KABC 690,980 6. Millionaire (Sun.) KABC 628,164 7. Millionaire (Thur.) KABC 596,756 8. 60 Minutes KCBS 586,286 9. Millionaire (Tue.) KABC 575,817 10. 20/20 (Fri.) KABC 570,582