NEW YORK (AP) — High-wire acts — both above Niagara Falls and the basketball rim — are paying off for ABC.
The first three games of the NBA Finals series between Miami and Oklahoma City, led by superstars LeBron James and Kevin Durant, were the top prime-time draws for the week beginning June 11. They are averaging 16.1 million viewers, the most for an NBA Finals at this stage since the 2001 contest between Philadelphia and the L.A. Lakers.
The network also scored last week with its "Megastunts" special highlighted by daredevil Nik Wallenda's walk on a tightrope above Niagara Falls. The Nielsen company said the special averaged a little more than 10.3 million viewers on Friday night for ABC, coming in fifth behind NBC's "America's Got Talent" on Tuesday with 11.18 million viewers.
The "Megastunts" viewership represents the biggest non-sports audience for a Friday night broadcast network program during the summer since a "Dateline NBC" program during the week of Hurricane Katrina in 2005. ABC had its biggest audience in the Friday time slot, during any season, in five years. Friday is generally a slow night for television viewership.
During the last half hour, when Wallenda was out on the rope, viewership peaked for ABC at nearly 16 million.
ABC averaged 8.3 million viewers for the week in prime time (5.2 rating, 9 share), topping second-place NBC's 6.1 million (3.9, 7). CBS had 5.5 million (3.7, 6), Fox had 4 million (2.4, 4), ION Television had 1.1 million (0.8, 1) and the CW had 620,000 (0.4, 1).
Among the Spanish-language networks, Univision led with a 3.2 million viewer average (1.7, 3), Telemundo had 1.3 million (0.7, 1), TeleFutura had 570,000 (0.3, 1), Estrella had 180,000 and Azteca 90,000 (both 0.1, 0).
NBC's "Nightly News" topped the evening newscasts with an average of 7.7 million viewers (5.3, 11). ABC's "World News" was second with 6.9 million (4.7, 10) and the "CBS Evening News" had 5.4 million viewers (3.7, 8).
A ratings point represents 1,147,000 households, or 1 percent of the nation's estimated 114.7 million TV homes. The share is the percentage of in-use televisions tuned to a given show.
For the week of June 11-17, the top 10 shows, their networks and viewerships: NBA Finals, Game 2: Miami vs. Oklahoma City, ABC, 16.67 million; NBA Finals, Game 1: Miami vs. Oklahoma City, ABC, 16.2 million; NBA Finals, Game 3: Oklahoma City vs. Miami, ABC, 15.55 million; "America's Got Talent" (Tuesday), NBC, 11.18 million; "Megastunts," ABC, 10.26 million; U.S. Open Golf Tournament," NBC, 9.63 million; "NCIS," CBS, 9.29 million; "The Big Bang Theory," CBS, 7.8 million; "60 Minutes," CBS, 7.51 million; "The Bachelorette," ABC, 7.43 million.
ABC is owned by The Walt Disney Co. CBS is owned by CBS Corp. CW is a joint venture of Warner Bros. Entertainment and CBS Corp. Fox and My Network TV are units of News Corp. NBC and Telemundo are owned by Comcast Corp. ION Television is owned by ION Media Networks. TeleFutura is a division of Univision. Azteca America is a wholly owned subsidiary of TV Azteca S.A. de C.V.