"The Blake Show" blew up big for TNT last night as the network scored its best ever Nielsen marks with its coverage of NBA All-Star Saturday Night.
The event, presented by State Farm and featuring Los Angeles Clippers high-flying rookie sensation Blake Griffin winning the Sprite Slam Dunk Contest, averaged a 4.4 U.S. national rating, 5.1 million households and 8.1 million viewers, according to Nielsen Fast Nationals data. Those Feb. 19 telecast numbers marked TNT's best-ever during its 26 years covering the event, topping 2009 by 13% in ratings (3.9 national), 14% in households (4.47 million) and 23% in viewers (6.55 million).
The 2011 NBA All-Star Saturday Night -- which also saw Team Atlanta win the Haier Shooting Stars contest,
Stephen Curry of Golden State Warriors taking the Taco Bell Skills Challenge, and the Miami Heat's James Jones connecting on the Foot Locker Three-Point Shootout -- now ranks as the most-watched NBA telecast on cable during the 2010-11 season to-date, surpassing the Oct. 26, 2010 season-opening game between the Boston Celtics and the Miami Heat, the first contest featuring the South Beach Three of LeBron James, Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh. That telecast scored a 4.6 U.S. household rating, 5.34 milion households and 7.43 million viewers.
Last night's event easily outperformed TNT's presentation of the 2010 NBA All-Star Saturday Night, which went up against the second night of NBC's coverage of the 2010 Winter Olympics from Vancouver: 42% in rating (3.1), 43% in households (3.56 million) and 49 in viewers (5.44 million).
The telecast peaked during 10:30 p.m. 11 p.m. (ET) period, averaging nearly 6.4 million households and 10.4 million total viewers tuning in to see Griffin's winning dunk, which featured him soaring over a 2011 Kia Optima, the official vehicle of the NBA, with teammate Baron Davis assisting with a pass from the sunroof inside the car.
The telecast also had double-digit growth in key adult and male demos over the 2010 version, including: persons18 to 34 (up 23% to 3 million from 2.44 million); persons 18 to 49 (19% to 4.85 million from 4.07 million); adults 25 to 54 (22% to 4.14 million from 3,39 million); guys 18 to 34 (17% to 2 million from 1.7 million); males 18 to 49 (22% to 3,27 million from 2.69 million); and men 25 to 54 (28% to 2.72 million from. 2.13 million).
Heading into the All-Star break, which culminates with its coverage of the contest tonight, the network has rung up most-watched season in Turner's 27 years of airing NBA action. Through 38 games, the NBA on TNT averaged a 1.5 U.S. rating (up 26% from a 1.2) 2.38 million viewers (30% from 1.83 million) and 1. 77 million households (27%, from 1.39 million) over the deliveries at this stage of last season.
Moreover, the current campaign ranks 26% ahead of Turner's 1995-96 regular season, its previous best with an average of 1.89 million watchers.