TV Ratings: NBA Finals Start With Game 1 High, Jump 15 Percent in Key Demo

LeBron James

The Cleveland Cavaliers star cameod as himself in Entourage and also plays a version of himself opposite Bill Hader in director Judd Apatow's upcoming Trainwreck.

With official numbers now in, Thursday's start of the NBA Finals paced well ahead of 2014. Game one was an all-time high for championship starter on ABC, surging to nearly 18 million viewers. It also marked the most-watched Game One in 14 years.

The overnight 12.9 rating, which peaked during overtime with a 15.6 rating, was up from last year's 10.4 rating. The game went into overtime, with the Golden State Warriors ultimately defeating the Cleveland Cavaliers 108-100.

Last year's Finals pitted the Miami Heat against the San Antonio Spurs. This game was also up in the key demo of adults 18-49, averaging a 6.9 rating — a 15 percent increase from last year.

The crowd for the NBA did not help NBC's dramas. In just its second week, Aquarius dropped four-tenths of a point to just a 0.7 rating among adults 18-49. It's not clear how much of that drop is due to NBC putting the entire season online last week, as streaming numbers aren't yet available.

Hannibal, returning for its third season and shifting from Friday, was in a similar boat. The heavily time-shifted series matched Aquarius with a 0.7 rating in the key demo, hitting a live-plus-same-day series low and falling 36 percent from the prior year.

Fox dramas Bones and Wayward Pines were undeterred, each averaging a steady 1.1 rating with adults 18-49.