ABC rolled with the last game of the NBA Finals on the 21st, but it was up just a couple ticks from Game 4. Last night, the NBA then had its yearly draft on ESPN (1.4), which was down a tenth from last year's edition.
ABC then brought back Wipeout on the 28th. It was down 17% from its year-ago Thursday premiere (2.4 on 6/23/11) but certainly looked pretty good compared with pretty much everything else on broadcast, including its fading lead-in Duets and Fox's crumbling dating shows.
Last night was mostly about cable, where FX's Charlie Sheen-led Anger Management (2.1 at 9:00, 2.3 at 9:30) beat all the broadcasters and marked the biggest sitcom series premiere in cable history. Despite the monster lead-in, FX's Wilfred (1.2) and Louie (0.7) showed no improvement on their year-ago premieres, but being even could be considered something of a win considering how much they dropped over the course of last summer. The premiere of FX late night effort Brand X (0.5) then basically tied Conan (0.5) and trailed The Daily Show (0.7).
At 10/9c, USA's Suits (1.2, 1.3) beat all the broadcasters in its slot on the 28th. It's grown for two straight weeks and is USA's top drama this week (edging Burn Notice (1.2)). MTV welcomed back Awkward (0.9), which did better than its year-ago series premiere (0.8 on 7/19/11) but fell significantly behind the 1.2ish level of its late-season one surge (when it aired after the very strong Teen Mom). Seems fine since lead-in Snooki & JWoww (0.9) is hardly a Jersey Shore-sized program.
NBC moved America's Got Talent to Wednesday for the first time, and the show did worse than its regular Monday/Tuesday airings. The upside was it seemed to take a chunk out of So You Think You Can Dance, whose 200th episode rated well below its previous results.
ABC's streak of weak summer newbies continued with a soft start from Final Witness.
TV Land had a pretty promising premiere from The Soul Man (0.6 on June 20), as it outrated every single result from Hot in Cleveland's most recent season. However, it fell apart in week two (0.3). More promising is ABC Family's new sitcom Baby Daddy (0.7, 0.7), which premiered pretty well by ABC Fam's low sitcom standards and then built by a touch in week two.
TNT's Dallas (1.3, 1.1) dropped two tenths in week two and another two tenths in week three. The week three drop in particular seems disappointing. It's now not really that much stronger than TNT's considerably less hyped Tuesday lineup (Rizzoli & Isles/Franklin & Bash) and in a virtual demo dead heat with USA's competing Royal Pains (1.0, 1.1).
ABC rolled on June 19 with Game 4 of the NBA Finals. Most of the broadcast shows then upticked on the 26th with the Finals out of the mix. Love in the Wild was happy to have an original Got Talent lead-in back.
There were also some noticeable post-NBA gains on cable. Franklin & Bash (1.0) made a huge leap over the last two against-Finals results and tied a series high. Comedy Central's male-friendly block of Tosh.0 (1.6) and Workaholics (1.0) also made drastic gains.
Though TV Land's first stab at an original comedy hour without Hot in Cleveland went pretty well (more on that later today), the second stab, effectively a burning off of returnee Retired at 35 on Tuesday, was not so successful. It premiered on the 26th to just 606,000 total viewers and just 140,000 adults 18-49 (that's a 0.11 rating).
Broadcast's only real excitement was the premiere of The Glass House. It appears the show's biggest legacy will end up being CBS' litigious attempt to get the show off the airwaves. They needn't have worried, as the show premiered softly and then dropped huge in week two.
The return of Got Talent to Monday on the 18th knocked the Gordon Ramsay shows down to about their premiere levels.
NBC reports last night's Olympic swimming trials were the most-viewed trials telecast since 2000.
ABC Family continues to plod along with underwhelming Bunheads (0.6, 0.6), but it has at least held its premiere audience. Monday in cable is still mostly an unscripted game, with History's Pawn Stars (2.0/2.0, 2.0/1.9) holding off USA's WWE Raw (1.8/1.9, 1.6/1.7).
The NBA Finals obviously dominated June 17, though it ended up being the lowest-rated game of the five-game series. The closing hours of golf's US Open hung in there pretty decently despite no Tiger Woods, getting as high as a 3.1 demo in the 10:00 half-hour.
HBO's True Blood (2.6 on June 17, 2.6 on June 24) remained in charge of cable, more than a point ahead of any other options. On June 24, HBO launched The Newsroom (1.0), which took a big dip from True Blood, but at least the dip was a lot less big than HBO's recent comedy efforts in the slot (including June 17's finale of Girls (0.5)).
TNT brought back Falling Skies (1.5 on June 17), down by about a quarter year-to-year against the Finals. It held up a little better year-to-year in week two (1.3) and is thus far in a virtual dead heat with Dallas for top demo on TNT.
Other cable tidbits: Lifetime's The Client List (1.0) signed off on June 17 as one of the few shows to pick up steam against the NBA Finals. But AMC's The Killing (0.5) did not get a big finale spike as it did in season one. Won't get fooled again, I guess. A&E's The Glades (0.6, 0.7) and Longmire (0.7, 0.7) both seem to have settled in.
ABC absolutely dominated the 15th with the highwire over Niagra Falls. As great as a 2.5 is on Friday, it's sort of a shame that ABC couldn't have gotten the first two hours counted together and the 10:00 hour as its own program. That's when people really started showing up; it got a 3.2 in the 10:00 half-hour and a 3.5 at 10:30. That average would've made the special the top non-NBA Finals program of the week.
Scheduling history:Army Wives aired in the Sunday 10:00 timeslot for its first four seasons. Lifetime finally moved it to 9:00 starting in season five to lead into new shows, though the back half of season six returned to 10:00.
I've used my A18-49+ numbers to try to offer a fresh macro look at sitcoms vs. dramas, unscripted, new shows, reruns and sports/specials. Another perspective that I think is worth visiting: how the networks line up over the years. So this post will compare each network's entertainment original average to the combined big four entertainment original average. As I did in the new show post, I'm just going to briefly recap each year and then put them all together at the end.
The thing about big event TV is that it gets people interested in TV ratings who don't typically pay that much attention. For awhile, that kind of irked me. People will lose their lunch about a sporting event dropping by 5% year-to-year, but if only they knew that the vast majority of regular series are down more than that every year!
In the end, though, it may be for the best. Sports and specials really are separate realms compared to series programming, realms that are often much more conducive to live viewing than a scripted series and thus should be judged differently.
Game 2 of the NBA Finals did a couple ticks better than Tuesday's Game 1 and was the biggest Game 2 since before the Finals' move to ABC in 2003 (edging 2004's 7.0). It did 9% better than the already strong year-ago Game 2 (6.5).
Fox's dating shows Take Me Out and The Choiceeach dropped two tenths in week two against the NBA onslaught. Saving Hopeheld its horrific premiere rating but was likely helped along by a considerably larger lead-in from America's Got Talent.
USA brought back Burn Notice (1.2) and Suits (1.1), each down a stout half point from their year-ago (not against NBA) premieres (1.7/1.6 respectively on 6/23/11). That's about on par with Notice's big year-to-year drops last fall, but they'll hope for a bounce-back once the NBA clears out in a couple weeks.
ABC moved Duets to Wednesday for a couple weeks because the NBA Finals are taking up residence on Thursday, and the show only continued its descent from its weak Thursday numbers.
TNT got a pretty good start from their continuation of Dallas (6.86m, 1.5 A18-49), but it was not the record-breaker among TNT premieres that many (myself included) expected. Still, it's a success if it drops by a reasonable amount from here.
Scheduling history:Burn Notice has been a Thursday fixture for USA since its premiere in 2007. Beginning in 2009, USA started using the show at 9/8c in the summer to lead into another program, first Royal Pains in 2009/10, then Suits in 2011/12, then Graceland in its final run in summer 2013.
The NBA's Heat/Thunder dream matchup got off to a good start, as Game 1 of the NBA Finals on ABC was up by 6% on last season's already very strong Game 1. In 18-49, this was the highest-rated Game 1 since Lakers/Pistons in 2004 (7.0).
Most of the usual Tuesday stuff held fairly reasonably against the Finals, with only America's Got Talentdown double digits. American Ninja Warrior was way down in a special Tuesday airing, but that was probably as much about being out-of-timeslot as anything.
On cable, MTV brought back Teen Mom (1.8 at 10:00, 1.7 at 11:00), topping the cable evening but down double digits from last summer's premiere (2.1 on 7/5/11). TNT arguably had the roughest time with the Finals as Rizzoli & Isles (1.0) and Franklin & Bash (0.7) each dropped two ticks in week two.
NBC's normal lineup was preempted by Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals. The hockey was finally competitive on a year-to-year basis and nearly double the previous NBC results from this series, probably thanks in large part to being free of NBA playoff competition for the first time. (Game 6 last year had a 2.0 as well but wasn't an elimination game.)
With America's Got Talent and friends out of the picture, the other reality programs were on the upswing, especially surgingHell's Kitchen and MasterChef. This would appear to bode well for these programs looking ahead to July (when Got Talent permanently moves to Tuesday/Wednesday).
ABC Family had a pretty underwhelming premiere from Bunheads (0.6), dropping a tick out of its Secret Life lead-in (0.7) and doing even relatively worse in younger female demos.
Week two of ABC's reality Sunday was even with its disappointing premiere numbers.
CBS had a worst-yet showing from The Tony Awards, down by a couple tenths from last year's telecast.
The night was easily won by HBO's season five premiere of True Blood (2.9). It feels like the kind of show that should've burnt out by now, but it amazingly continues to hold up almost completely each year. A&E had some nice week two growth from Longmire (0.9), and AMC was up both week-to-week and year-to-year with the Mad Men finale (0.9).
With the NBA Western Conference Finals over, the nine-day streak of cable having the largest primetime program came to an end on Friday, as 20/20 topped the night (cable's biggest shows were Family Guy reruns (1.0) on Adult Swim).
Cable went back on top with the decisive Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals on ESPN (5.6). This was about 15% ahead of the series' previous high in Game 4 despite airing on a Saturday.
Fox got off to a fairly unimpressive start with new dating shows Take Me Out and The Choice, though the latter had the much clearer hook (celebs + The Voice parody), so it was not nearly as weak. The Choice was the only original of the evening to finish #1 in its slot among the broadcasters, as CBS repeats carried most of the night.
Despite the nothing-special returns, they still beat up on the other new Thursday shows, as hugely disappointing Duetstook another big step downward and NBC's scripted newbie Saving Hope premiered invisibly.
Cable crushed all of the above with Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals on ESPN (4.8). Better yet, there'll be a Game 7 on Saturday night! Other than that, it was a pretty slow day for cable.