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NBA Helps TNT Dunk USA in May

6/06/2011 12:01 AM Eastern

On the heels of a record-setting
National Basketball Association playoffs performance,
TNT dribbled its way past USA Network to
take top honors in the May primetime cable ratings
race.

The drama network averaged
3.5 million viewers during the
period of April 26 to May 30, an
increase of 23% over the same
period last year, according to
a Turner Research analysis of
Nielsen data.

USA Network, which had won
the last three monthly races, finished
second with 2.7 million
watchers, down 8% from May
2010. Disney Channel finished
third with 2.3 million up 3%, followed
by ESPN with 2.0 million,
down 6% and Fox News Channel,
whose 1.8 million viewers is
up 2% from last year.

History (1.8 million, up 26%); Nick at Nite (1.3 million,
down 21%); ABC Family (1.2 million,
up 16%); FX (1.2 million,
down 7%); and A&E Network (1.1
million, down 5%) rounded out
the top 10.

Nickelodeon was tops among all cable networks on
a 24-hour basis, averaging 2.0 million viewers, down
5% from last year. Disney Channel finished second
with 1.5 million viewers, up 3%, followed by TNT (1.5
million viewers, up 4%); Nick at Nite (1.3 million viewers,
down 13%) and Adult Swim (1.3 million, up 17%).

CNN’s May 1 coverage of Osama Bin Laden’s killing
helped the network post a 34% viewership increase
during May. Other networks posting significant audience
increases during the month included Nat Geo
Wild (106,000, 136%); ID (485,000, up 67%); Hallmark
Movie Channel (150,000, up 88%); MTV (793,000,
up 31%); BBC America (199,000, 51%); MLB Network
(139,000 up 56%); and NFL Network (110,000, up 53%).

Networks struggling during the month include
G4 (113,000, down 34%); Fuse (39,000, down 25%);
OWN (241,000, down 19%); TBS (1.1 million, down
19%); Hallmark Channel (555,000, down 18%); TV
One (152,000, down 16%); VH1 (435,000, down 16%);
Golf Channel (119,000, down 15%) and BET (662,000,
down 14%).

TNT’s 2011 NBA playof fs telecasts represented
seven of the top 10 most watched shows
during the month, including the May 15 Miami Heat-
Chicago Bulls Eastern Conference Finals game,
which set a cable record for an NBA telecast with 11.1
million viewers.

CNN’s Bin Laden coverage, two episodes of History’s
Pawn Stars and a May 6 Los Angeles Lakers-
Dallas Mavericks NBA playoff contest rounded out
the top 10.