NBA playoffs top TV ratings, with ‘America’s Got Talent’ close behind

Howie Mandel stands and gestures while Heidi Klum, Sofia Vergara clap and Simon Cowell are seated at the judges' table
Howie Mandel, left, Heidi Klum, Sofia Vergara and Simon Cowell in “America’s Got Talent” on NBC.
(Trae Patton / NBC)

NBA programming accounted for each of the four highest-rated programs in the latest prime-time ratings, while the 18th season premiere of “America’s Got Talent” was the top-ranked non-sports program.

Viewership for ABC’s coverage of the first two games of the NBA Finals averaged 11.75 million viewers, up from the 11.66 million average for last year’s finals between the Boston Celtics and Golden State Warriors, the least for the finals when held during their customary time since 2007.

The Denver Nuggets’ 104-93 victory over the Miami Heat in Game 1 Thursday averaged a combined 11.58 million viewers — 11.04 million on ABC and 544,000 for the “Stephen A’s World” alternate presentation on ESPN2, according to live-plus-same-day figures released by Nielsen on Tuesday. Boston’s 120-108 victory in Game 1 of the 2022 finals averaged 11.4 million viewers.


The Heat’s 111-108 victory in Game 2 Sunday averaged 11.91 million viewers, second among prime-time programs airing between May 29 and Sunday. Golden State’s 107-88 victory in Game 2 in 2022 averaged 11.91 million viewers.

The week’s highest-rated program was TNT’s coverage of Miami’s 103-84 victory over the Boston Celtics in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals May 29, which averaged 12 million viewers, the most for an Eastern Conference finals game on TNT and third-highest for any NBA game ever on TNT. The series averaged 7.4 million viewers, the most for an Eastern Conference finals on TNT in a decade.

“America’s Got Talent” averaged 6.11 million viewers, fifth for the week, behind NBA playoffs and coverage.

ABC won the network battle for the first time since it aired the Oscars on March 12, averaging 4.42 million viewers.

ABC’s top non-sports program was a rerun of “Celebrity Wheel of Fortune,” which averaged 3.08 million viewers, 15th for the week and eighth among non-sports programs.

CBS averaged 2.85 million viewers to finish second after 11 consecutive first-place finishes, 14 in the previous 15 weeks and 16 in the previous 18. Its ratings were led by the 7 p.m. edition of “60 Minutes,’ sixth for the week and second among non-sports programs, averaging 5.96 million viewers for two previously broadcast segments that were updated for the post-season edition.


NBC was third among the broadcast networks, averaging 2.33 million viewers.

Fox averaged 1.62 million viewers for its prime-time programming. Fox’s top-rated program for the second consecutive week was “WWE’s Friday Night Smackdown,” ranked 27th, averaging 2.56 million viewers.

The CW averaged 330,000 viewers. Its biggest draw for the second consecutive week was the superhero series “Superman & Lois,” which averaged 657,000 viewers, 134th among broadcast programs.

The top 20 prime-time programs consisted of three NBA playoff games — two on ABC and one on TNT; three NBA postgame shows — two on ABC and one on TNT; two NBA pregame shows on ABC; “America’s Got Talent”; two editions of “60 Minutes” with previously broadcast segments that were updated for the post-season editions; reruns of six CBS scripted programs; reruns of the ABC alternative series “Celebrity Wheel of Fortune” and “Celebrity Family Feud”; and the NBC crime thriller “The Blacklist.”

TNT won the cable network race for the seventh consecutive week thanks to its coverage of Game 7 of the NBA Eastern Conference finals and Game 1 of the NHL’s Stanley Cup Final, averaging 2.07 million viewers.

Fox News Channel was first in prime time among cable news networks for the 120th consecutive week and second among cable networks following five consecutive third-place finishes, averaging 1.338 million viewers.

MSNBC was third among all cable networks after six consecutive fourth-place finishes, averaging 970,000 viewers.


CNN was 14th among cable networks, averaging 507,000 viewers, trailing TLC (604,000), Food Network (553,000), TBS (521,000) and others.

The cable prime-time top 20 consisted of Game 7 of the NBA’s Eastern Conference finals and its pregame show; eight Fox News Channel political talk shows — four broadcasts of “Hannity,” three of “Fox News Tonight” hosted by Johnny Joey Jones and one of “The Ingraham Angle”; four MSNBC political talk shows — three editions of “The Last Word With Lawrence O’Donnell” and one of “Alex Wagner Tonight”; two NHL playoff games — one each on TNT and ESPN; Bravo’s “Vanderpump Rules”; the first two hourlong segments of “WWE Raw”; and ESPN’s “Sunday Night Baseball” game between the Dodgers and the Yankees.

Netflix’s most-streamed title for the second consecutive week was the Arnold Schwarzenegger-starring action comedy “FUBAR,” whose eight episodes were watched for 88.03 million hours in their first full week of release, nearly identical to the 88.94 million hours the previous week when they were available for four days.

Netflix’s top-ranked film was the German-language action drama “Blood & Gold,” which was watched for 24.99 million hours in its first full week of release, 80.7% more than the 13.83 million hours it was watched the previous week when it was available for three days.