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NBA conference finals bounce on cable; ‘America’s Got Talent’ wins the week again

A scrum of basketball players fighting for the ball.
The Clippers’ loss to the Phoenix Suns was the highest-rated program on cable last week.
(Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)

The unscripted competition series “America’s Got Talent” was the top-rated program for the fourth time in the five full weeks of television’s summer season. Three NBA conference finals games on cable were last week’s only other prime-time programs to average more than 5 million viewers.

The NBC talent competition averaged 7.083 million viewers, the third-largest audience for a prime-time program this summer behind the season’s first two “America’s Got Talent” episodes, which averaged 7.372 million and 7.22 million, according to live-plus-same-day figures released today by Nielsen.

The only time “America’s Got Talent” was not the week’s ratings winner program was during the week of June 14-20, when it aired two hours later than usual because of NBC’s coverage of the U.S. Olympic swimming trials.

ESPN’s coverage of the Phoenix Suns’ Western Conference finals-clinching 130-103 victory over the Clippers last Wednesday was second for the week, averaging 5.857 million viewers, while the Clippers’ 116-102 victory two days earlier was third, averaging 5.745 million.

The Milwaukee Bucks’ 118-107 victory over the Atlanta Hawks Saturday to win the Eastern Conference finals on TNT was fourth, averaging 5.237 million.

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NBC won the network ratings race for the second consecutive week, averaging 2.88 million viewers between June 28 and Sunday. The second- and third-place finishers were the same as the previous week, with CBS averaging 2.61 million and ABC 2.34 million.

Fox averaged 1.59 million viewers, fourth among the five major English-language broadcast networks and sixth overall.

The CW again was fifth among the five major English-language broadcast networks, averaging 720,000 viewers.

Thanks to Independence Day weekend travel and less first-run programming, the combined five-network viewership was 20.2% lower than the previous week.

An edition of “60 Minutes” with repeats of three previously broadcast segments that were updated for Sunday’s airing was CBS’ biggest draw, averaging 4.66 million viewers and finishing seventh for the week.

ABC’s top-ranked program was “The $100,000 Pyramid,” 13th for the week, averaging 3.493 million viewers. The cooking competition “MasterChef” had Fox’s biggest audience for the second consecutive week, averaging 2.844 million viewers, 32nd overall.

The martial arts action-adventure series “Kung Fu” was The CW’s ratings leader, averaging 803,000 viewers, 147th among broadcast programs. Its overall rank was not available.

Three Eastern Conference finals games enabled TNT to edge Fox News Channel, 2.141 million to 2.139 million, and win the cable network race. ESPN finished third, averaging 1.577 million.

For the second consecutive week, “Lucifer” topped Nielsen’s list of the top 10 streamed programs, with viewers spending 1.838 billion minutes between May 31 and June 6 watching the series’ 83 episodes on Netflix.


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