The Golden State Warriors secured a long, long desired NBA Playoffs Finals slot last night with a 104-90 win over the Houston Rockets on ESPN, but on the Big 4 it was unscripted that was heating up the opening days of summer. Game 5 of the NBA Western Conference Finals scored an almost 3-year NBA high for ESPN with a 6.8 overnight rating but the big boy of Wednesday night on broadcast was MasterChef (1.5/6) on Fox. It was a good night for the Gordon Ramsey-led cooking competition series. Not only was MasterChef up 25% among adults 18-49 from its Season 6 debut last week but also the show was the top-rated program of the night. Up 57% in the key demo from the debut of unscripted I Wanna Marry Harry on May 20, 2014, the series premiere of Bullseye (1.1/4) followed MasterChef with a 26% decline in its lead-in demo haul. Overall, Fox was No. 1 among the 18-49s last night with a 1.3/5 rating and CBS was tops in viewers with 6.34 million watching.
A lot of that CBS audience heft came from the 6.78 million who tuned in for the launch of The Briefcase (1.3/5) at 8 PM last night. The most watched show of the night and of the new unscripted series last summer and this one so far, the new show from The Biggest Loser’s creator/EP Dave Broome sees two struggling families given a chance to get out of financial rough waters with a briefcase of $101,000 or to help others do so. On a night of a lot of reality in a season where the genre dominates, The Briefcase was up a solid 30% in the demo from the dismal performance of the network’s last unscripted debut of American Baking Competition on May 29, 2013. It was also the top new series of the night, beating both Fox’s Bullseye and the second-to-last episode of ABC’s week-long 500 Questions (1.0/4), which dipped 9% from its Tuesday airing and 17% from its May 20 premiere.
With the exception of 500 Questions and Celebrity Wife Swap (1.1/4), which was up 10% from last week’s season debut, ABC was all encores on Wednesday. The CW went for repeats of Arrow (0.2/1) and Supernatural (0.2/1). NBC’s only original offering of the night was The iHeartRadio Country Music Festival (1.0/3) from 9 – 11 PM. The special was down 41% in the 18-49 demo from what the 2015 iHeartRadio Music Awards delivered for the network back on March 29.
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