NBA Drives TNT's Viewing

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TNT, lifted by its coverage of the pro basketball playoffs, dunked its way back to the top of basic cable's primetime ratings the week of April 30 through May 6.

The drama network — boosted by the Golden State Warriors' upset over the Dallas Mavericks, the team with the best record in the most recent National Basketball Association season and last year's finalist — averaged a 2.2 household rating during the April 30-May 6 span, according to a Disney ABC Cable Networks analysis of Nielsen Media Research data.

That performance gave TNT — which, reports indicate, has offered to pick up fresh episodes of ratings workhorse Law & Order, should NBC elect not to renew the venerable Dick Wolf-produced series — a 0.4-point edge over second place Disney Channel's 1.8 average and a half-rating point lead over USA Network.

Fox News Channel was fourth for the week at a 1.2, 0.1 higher than TBS, FX, Cartoon Network and Nick at Nite. A&E Network, Hallmark Channel and Lifetime Television rounded out the top 10, each with a 1.0 mark for the week.

TNT's presentation of the Warriors' game-six clincher over the Mark Cuban-owned Mavericks May 3 was the top show in basic cable that week, earning a 4.0 household rating. Game five of the series on May 1 — which marked the first time a No. 8 seed toppled a No. 1 seed since the league went to four-of-seven series for that round — was fourth for the week with a 3.3.

USA's presentation of World Wrestling Entertainment's Monday Night Raw franchise pinned second- and third-place honors for the week, with a 3.7 from 10 p.m. to 11:06 p.m. April 30 and a 3.4 in the earlier hour.

All told, TNT's NBA action grabbed seven of the top 19 shows for the week.

Also populating basic cable's top 10 for the week were a pair of episodes apiece from Nickelodeon powerhouses SpongeBob SquarePants and The Fairly OddParents and the May 4 installment of Hannah Montana, which delivered a 2.8 household rating for Disney that night from 8 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

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