Couch potatoes win!

NBA, NHL finals strong, but Fox tops in week

Sports ruled last week in the ratings, yet Fox still managed to finish on top led by its reality programming.

The NBA Finals on ABC and the NHL Stanley Cup Finals on NBC gave the networks some fresh ratings air, with both franchises posting significant year-over-year gains.

The first two games between the Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics won Thursday (13.4 million viewers and a 5.4 rating/17 share in adults 18-49) and Sunday (13.5 million, 5.5/16). Thursday's game was up 46%, and Sunday's was up 62% from last year.

NBC's final two Stanley Cup playoff games last week might have been lower-rated than the basketball games, but they posted even higher year-over-year increases. NBC tied for second place Monday night, with the hockey game up 155% (6.3 million, 2.8/9) from last year, and won Wednesday with the game up 123% (6.8 million, 2.9/9).

Also making headlines last week was the debut of two scripted series: "Swingtown" (8.6 million, 2.8/8) on CBS and "Fear Itself" (5.3 million, 2.0/6) on NBC. The shows were both up against the NBA Finals on Thursday night and posted modest premieres, with "Swingtown" topping "Fear."

Also premiering last week after a four-year absence was ABC's reality competition series "The Mole" (4.5 million, 1.9/5), which hit a series low.

Overall, Fox won in the demo (averaging 6.5 million viewers and a 2.5 rating/8 share), led by "Hell's Kitchen" (9.4 million, 4.4/12) and "So You Think You Can Dance" (Wednesday: 9.6 million, 3.7/11). ABC was second (averaging 6.1 million, 2.2/7), followed by NBC (5.7 million, 1.9/6). CBS pulled off the trick of being fourth in the demo but winning the week among total viewers (7.2 million, 1.7/5). The CW was fourth (1.8 million, 0.7/2). (partialdiff)