Lakers' NBA win draws big television ratings

Fans cheer for the Los Angeles Lakers during their victory parade for the the NBA basketball champion team on June 21, 2010 in Los Angeles, California.
Fans cheer for the Los Angeles Lakers during their victory parade for the the NBA basketball champion team on June 21, 2010 in Los Angeles, California. David McNew/Getty Images

The L.A. Lakers' series-clinching win over the Boston Celtics was seen by 28.2 million viewers last week, making it the most-watched NBA game since Michael Jordan won his sixth and final championship in 1998.

The Nielsen Co. said Thursday's game on ABC was the most-watched event during television's summer season since the first "Survivor" finale in 2000, with the exception of the Olympics. During the game's deciding moments in the fourth quarter, viewership peaked at 36.5 million - even though it was after 11:30 p.m. on the East Coast.

It continues a trend of big events in sports and entertainment getting big ratings, attributed in part to the rapid acceptance of high-definition television. This year's Super Bowl ranks as the most most-watched program in U.S. television history.

As a whole, the seven-game championship series between the NBA's two most successful franchises had better ratings than any NBA finals since the Lakers took on the Philadelphia 76ers in 2001.

Meanwhile, HBO's "True Blood" was seen by 4.3 million viewers for its second episode of the season on Sunday, Nielsen said. The season debut, seen by the 5.1 million the week before, led HBO to place an order for another season that will air next summer.

For the week, ABC averaged 7.5 million viewers (4.6 rating, 8 share). CBS was second with a 6.4 million viewer average (4.1, 8), followed by NBC's 5.9 million (3.7, 7), Fox's 4.6 million (2.8, 5), ION Television's 1.2 million (0.8, 2) and the CW's 920,000 (0.6, 1).

Among the Spanish-language networks, Univision led with a prime-time average of 3.3 million (1.7 rating, 3 share). Telemundo had 1 million (0.5, 1), TeleFutura had 810,000 (0.4, 1), Azteca had 180,000 and Estrella had 170,000 (both 0.1, 0).

NBC's "Nightly News" topped the evening newscasts with an average of 7.6 million viewers (5.1, 11). ABC's "World News" was second with 6.7 million (4.6, 10) and the "CBS Evening News" had 5.2 million viewers (3.6, 8).

A ratings point represents 1,149,000 households, or 1 percent of the nation's estimated 114.9 million TV homes. The share is the percentage of in-use televisions tuned to a given show.

For the week of June 14-20, the top 10 shows, their networks and viewerships: NBA Finals: Boston vs. L.A. Lakers, Game 7, ABC, 28.2 million; NBA Finals: Boston vs. L.A. Lakers, Game 6, ABC, 17.96 million; "America's Got Talent" (Wednesday), NBC, 11.65 million; "America's Got Talent" (Tuesday), NBC, 10.55 million; "NCIS," CBS, 9.64 million; "Two and a Half Men," CBS, 9.21 million; "NCIS: Los Angeles," CBS, 9.11 million; "The Big Bang Theory," CBS, 8.88 million; "The Bachelorette," ABC, 8.41 million; "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation," CBS, 8.33 million.

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ABC is owned by The Walt Disney Co. CBS is owned by CBS Corp. CW is a joint venture of Warner Bros. Entertainment and CBS Corp. Fox and My Network TV are units of News Corp. NBC and Telemundo are owned by General Electric Co. ION Television is owned by ION Media Networks. TeleFutura is a division of Univision. Azteca America is a wholly owned subsidiary of TV Azteca S.A. de C.V.

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Online:

Nielsens: http://www.nielsenmedia.com

© 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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