Return of NBA lifts TNT’s ratings for week of July 27-Aug. 2

LeBron James and the Lakers against the Utah Jazz.
LeBron James and the Lakers against the Utah Jazz.
(Kim Klement / Pool Photo)

Prime-time viewership of TNT increased 61% from the previous week thanks to the restart of the NBA season after more than four months off due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Lakers’ 103-101 victory over the Clippers, which concluded Thursday’s double-header, averaged 3.395 million viewers, 15th among cable programs airing between July 27 and Sunday and 30th overall, according to live-plus-same-day figures released by Nielsen Tuesday.

The first game, a 106-104 victory by the Utah Jazz over the New Orleans Pelicans, averaged 2.112 million viewers.

TNT averaged 1.251 million viewers, fifth among cable networks, up from 629,000 a week earlier when it was 14th among cable networks.


For the second consecutive week, the highest-rated prime-time program was “60 Minutes” with three repeat segments updated for a rebroadcast. The only other two prime-time programs to average more than 5 million viewers were NBC’s “America’s Got Talent” and a rerun of “NCIS” on CBS.

“60 Minutes” averaged 7.132 million viewers, “America’s Got Talent,” 6.12 million and “NCIS” 5.078.

The 1-3 finish by “60 Minutes” and “NCIS” helped CBS to its fourth consecutive first-place finish in the network race, 22nd in 27 weeks and 27th in the 45-week-old 2019-20 season, averaging 3.23 million viewers.

Fox News Channel was second, averaging 3.065 million, followed by NBC, which averaged 2.81 million, and ABC, which averaged 2.34 million.

Fox averaged 1.55 million viewers for its 16 hours, 18 minutes of prime-time programming, fourth among the broadcast networks and sixth overall. Its top program was its second “Fox Saturday Baseball” telecast of the coronavirus-delayed season.

The regional telecasts of the New York Yankees-Boston Red Sox and Angels-Houston Astros games averaged 2.068 million viewers, 50th among the week’s broadcast programs and fourth among Saturday programs. Viewership was 25.9% less than the 2.79 million average for the previous week, a 9-2 victory by the Washington Nationals over the Yankees.


With less first-run programming because of the pandemic, combined four-network prime-time viewership was down 14.7% from the corresponding week one year ago, when “America’s Got Talent” was the week’s highest-rated broadcast program, averaging 7.975 million viewers. That same week, the season finale of ABC dating series “The Bachelorette” averaged 7.523 million and NBC’s coverage of the NFL Hall of Fame Game averaged 5.346 million viewers.

ABC’s audience was down 34.8%, NBC’s 23.4% and Fox’s 8.3% while CBS’ was up 21.3%. Millions of potential CBS viewers were not able to watch the network last year because its owned-and-operated stations in more than a dozen markets, including Los Angeles, were absent from DirecTV and other AT&T-owned television packages due to a dispute.

Fox News Channel was the highest-rated cable network for the 28th consecutive week, averaging 3.065 million viewers. It had the week’s seven top-ranked cable programs and nine of the top 10 — four episodes each of the political talk shows “Hannity” and “Tucker Carlson Tonight” and the Tuesday edition of “The Ingraham Angle.”

The week’s cable program with the largest audience was Tuesday’s edition of “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” which averaged 4.524 million viewers, fourth overall. The overall top 10 included three episodes of “Tucker Carlson Tonight” and two of “Hannity.”

MSNBC was second among cable networks for the eighth consecutive week, averaging 1.877 million viewers. CNN was third for the eighth consecutive week, averaging 1.357 million.