NBA Propels TNT in Weekly Ratings

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Elevated by its “40 Games in 40 Nights” presentation of National Basketball Association playoff contests, last year’s leader in basic cable’s primetime clubhouse, TNT, returned to the top of the pack last week.

The drama network sported five of the medium’s top 25 shows with its NBA postseason coverage in averaging a 2.5 household rating May 1-7, according to a Disney ABC Cable Networks Group analysis of Nielsen Media Research data.

TNT was led by the 4.1 household mark posted by the Phoenix Suns’ game-six win over the Los Angeles Lakers May 4, which was tied for second in basic cable last week. Reaching some 3.71 million households, the game was the most-watched first-round playoff game in cable history, according to network officials.

For the week, TNT topped this year’s leader, USA Network, which scored a 2.1 average in primetime, and Disney Channel’s 2.0 mark.

FX -- benefiting from the week’s highest-rated show, the 4.3 revved by its National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing Nextel Cup Race May 6 -- was fourth with a 1.5.

Nick at Nite and Cartoon Network were next, each with a 1.4. ESPN -- which had a pair of shows in the top 16 via its own NBA coverage -- ranked seventh with a 1.3.

There was a three-way tie for eighth among TBS, Fox News Channel and Lifetime Television, all with 1.2 marks. Hallmark Channel finished just outside of the top 10 with a 1.1 average for the week.

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