Summer started with a lot going on this Memorial Day on television, both on broadcast and cable with a lot of drama. The 10-hour Texas Rising debuted on History, while the NBA Playoffs provided even more court action drama on ESPN — on a number of levels. The CW showed a movie last night, and CBS and Fox were all encores, but taking the top spot among adults 18-49 with a 1.6/5 was NBC, which was all about the unscripted debuts on the holiday Monday.
There were new obstacles on the Season 7 debut of American Ninja Warrior (1.8/6) last night, but the ratings didn’t seem to be one of them. Starting off with Venice qualifiers, the competition show saw a rise of 13% over its Season 6 premiere back on May 26 last year. With 5.9 million watching, ANW was also up 27% viewership-wise from its 2014 debut. That, however, did not translate into a strong start for The Island (1.2/4). The 10 PM Bear Grylls survivalist series slid 14% among the key demo from what the 8 PM debut of Running Wild With Bear Grylls drew on July 28, 2014.
If you want to talk about survival, the real champs of that last night were the Houston Rockets as they defeated the Golden State Warriors 128-115 in in Game 4 of the NBA Western Conference Finals. Having won the first three games, Golden State looked poised to walk away with this matchup but now will have to fight another day. As a flood hit the Texas city, the ratings for the bare-knuckles b-ball game surged for ESPN. The sports giant got a 6.0 overnight rating for the Rockets last-chance win. That’s not only up 46% from the Game 4 results that ESPN had last time it showed the Western Conference finals back in 2013, but it’s also up 22% from last year’s Game 4 between the San Antonio Spurs and the Oklahoma City Thunder on TNT. How big was this game? Well, in the San Francisco market, the battle pulled in a 19.5 overnight rating – that’s the highest result an NBA game has ever gotten in any local market since such measurement started being taken in 2003. Game 5 on Wednesday sees the Conference Finals move back to the Golden State as the Warriors will try to wrap this thing up and the Rockets will try to deny them and force a Game 6 in Houston.
It also was an all unscripted start to summer on ABC last night, with 500 Questions (1.1/4) kicking off the night and The Bachelorette (1.6/5) seeing it to its end. Show 4 of the seven-night game show saw 500 Questions rise 38% among the demo from its previous original on May 22. However, even with Amy Schumer showing up and sending Twitter wild, The Bachelorette did not have a good night at all with a 24% drop from its Season 11 debut last week, which had Dancing With The Stars as a lead-in.