NBA playoffs give TNT weekly ratings win

Cable network tops in demos; USA takes total-viewer crown

TNT notched its third straight ratings win of 2010, sweeping the demos thanks to a clutch of high-profile NBA playoff games.

For the week ended May 16, the Turner network averaged 1.33 million viewers 18-49, 1.29 million adults 25-54 and 657,000 viewers 18-34, according to Nielsen live-plus-same-day ratings data.

Despite its demo prowess, TNT fell short of taking its third total-viewer crown, as USA rallied with an average primetime delivery of 3.2 million viewers. TNT took second with 2.51 million.

The Cleveland Cavaliers' 120-88 humiliation at the hands of the Boston Celtics in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference semifinals drew 6.74 million viewers on May 11. Some 3.79 million viewers 18-49 tuned in to TNT for the game, while another 3.52 million observers were members of the adults 25-54 demo.

TNT also drew a crowd with the fourth and deciding game of the Western semis, as the Lakers-Jazz matchup averaged 5.08 million viewers, of which 3.11 million were viewers 18-49.

Cable's biggest draw of the week was Thursday's Cavs-Celts closer on ESPN, which drew 8.98 million viewers, a total that included 4.86 million viewers 18-49.

ESPN finished third among total viewers (2.15 million) while taking second place with the younger demos, averaging 1.11 million viewers 18-49.

USA's big numbers came courtesy of its "WWE Raw" franchise and the scripted series "NCIS" and "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit."
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