Sopranos Deliver for HBO


Home Box Office's mob series, The Sopranos, whacked the broadcast-network competition during its fifth-season finale episode Sunday.

The series drew 10.98 million viewers during the 9 p.m.-10 p.m. time period, besting the 10.91 by ABC's game-one coverage of the NBA Finals between the Detroit Pistons and the Los Angeles Lakers on the East Coast, HBO officials said. HBO's airing of The Sopranos on the West Coast did not go head-to-head with the game.

The mark also represents the first time HBO has beaten all network competition in total viewers since Nielsen Media Research began separating viewership numbers for pay channels from their multiplex offerings in January.

The episode drew a 21.7 rating, finishing second behind the series’ fifth-season premiere March 7, which averaged a 23.8 rating.