TV Ratings: NBA Finals, Cable News Dominate Tuesday

Jae Crowder of the Miami Heat defends LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers during the fourth quarter in Game Four of the 2020 NBA Finals on Oct 6.
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Jae Crowder of the Miami Heat defends LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers during the fourth quarter in Game Four of the 2020 NBA Finals on Oct 6.

The NBA Finals grew on Tuesday, and cable news had a big night pretty well across the board. The rest of primetime, however, was a mixed bag, with NBC's Weakest Link putting up decent second-week ratings but Fox's Next premiering softly.

Game four of the NBA Finals delivered 7.54 million viewers and a 2.9 rating among adults 18-49 on ABC. The total-viewer figure is the largest of the finals this year, though the series remains way below its usual early summer TV numbers. Through four games, the Los Angeles Lakers-Miami Heat series is averaging 6.87 million viewers, on pace for an all-time low. Tuesday's demo rating ties last week's game one for the best of the finals to date.

The three big cable news networks averaged a combined 3.46 million viewers in primetime, a 32 percent jump over the same night two weeks ago (all three aired the first presidential debate last week). Fox News' Tucker Carlson Tonight (5.3 million viewers) and Hannity (4.75 million) and MSNBC's Rachel Maddow Show (4.12 million) all topped 4 million viewers.

The second episode of Weakest Link on NBC drew a 0.8 in adults 18-49 and 4.91 million viewers, leading all but ABC's NBA broadcast in the demo. The premiere of Ellen's Game of Games, however, didn't fare as well with a 0.7 and 3.63 million viewers, down from averages of 1.0 and 4.7 million last season. Transplant (0.4, 3.26 million) declined week to week.

Next debuted to modest same-day numbers on Fox, managing only a 0.3 in adults 18-49 and 1.81 million viewers. Cosmos: Possible Worlds (0.3, 1.36 million) was in line with its premiere two weeks ago. CBS' docuseries The FBI Declassified fared a bit better with a 0.4 in the demo and 3.33 million viewers. The CW also got decent numbers from its premiere of DC Universe's Swamp Thing, which scored a 0.2 in the demo and 1.1 million viewers — the network's first regular program to get an initial audience of 1 million-plus since an episode of Penn & Teller: Fool Us in late August.

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