UPDATE 1:40 PM: The NBA Finals are tied and Sunday’s high stakes Game 7 will determine if the Golden State Warriors take home the trophy for the second year in a row or if the Cleveland Cavaliers get what Lebron James has been pining for. That’s to come but for what was – up a tenth from Monday’s Game 5, last night’s Game 6 has drawn a 7.7/27 rating and 20.70 million viewers in the final numbers. That’s a demo and viewership high for the near record 2016 series.
On the flipside, that’s down 11% from the record breaking 23.3 million viewers that saw the Warriors claim their first NBA championship in 40-years in the Game 6 of the 2015 NBA Finals on June 16, 2015. However, Thursday b-ball counts as the most watched non-clincher Game 6 ABC has ever had and the second most watched NBA Finals Game 6 that the net has had since it started showing the series in 2003. Last night’s Ohio played game declined 13% in the demo from 2015’s Game 6.
However, ABC had more wins with Jimmy Kimmel Live: Game Night reaching its all time viewership high with 4.8 million tuning in – the best the series connected show has done since it debuted in 2008.
And on Sunday, we will have a champion.
PREVIOUSLY 7:21 AM: By this time last year, the Golden State Warriors had won their first NBA championship in 40 years, but the 2016 basketball battle is going to a winner-take-all Game 7 after the Cleveland Cavaliers took Game 6 last night 115-101.
The social media wrath of Ayseha Curry aside, that’s good news for ABC and the NBA, who have seen near-record ratings for this year’s NBA Finals. Last night’s game scored a 14.3/24 metered market rating, fairly steady with last year and dipping just 10% from the record Game 6 MM results of 2015, when the Warriors won the trophy. Last night’s game is also currently the second best Game 6 NBA take-away for the Disney-owned net since 2011 – when the Dallas Mavericks beat the Miami Heat to win the title that year. Last night’s game peaked with a 16.7 MM rating from 11:30-11:45 PM ET.
Sunday’s game will mark only the fourth Game 7 of the NBA Finals that ABC has aired since the net started broadcasting the series in 2003. Previous Game 7s were in 2005, 2010 and 2013. Right now, the 2016 NBA Finals is tracking as the second most watched ever on ABC behind last year’s big numbers.
We’ll update with more NBA Finals ratings and other shows that were on last night later. But in the meantime, remember that last year’s winning Game 6 went on to pull an 8.9/26 rating among adults 18-49 and a massive audience of 23.3 million – the most watched Game 6 ever on ABC.
UPDATE, 9:17 AM: Believe it or not there were actually things on TV last night that didn’t involve the NBA Finals with the Season 2 returns of Aquarius (0.4/2) and Home Free (0.6/2). Not that the ad-free 2-hour debut of the David Duchovny led 1960s set cop drama and the Mike Holmes and now Tim Tebow hosted reality show put up much of a fight.
The NBC series was even with the later episodes of its first season but down 64% among adults 18-49 from its 9-11 PM series premiere of May 28, 2015. As for Home Free, the Fox show took 33% hit from its July 22, 2015 opener, a Wednesday that definitely didn’t see the series facing the NBA Finals. Earlier in the night Fox had Bones (0.7/3), which was down two tenths from its last original of June 2 when it faced Game 1 of the Golden State Warriors vs. the Cleveland Cavaliers in the 2016 NBA Finals. NBC had a new Dateline (1.04) at 8 PM, which hit a 6-month time period viewership high of 5.0 million. The CW’s only original of the night was Beauty and the Beast (0.2/1) – even with last week. CBS was all encores.
As for that rough Game 6 of the NBA Finals last night, it pulled in a 6.3/22 rating in the demo and 16.80 million viewers in the early affiliate numbers for ABC. Now that will change in the final numbers but right now last night’s Game 6 is down 13% from the early demo numbers of last year’s record breaking clincher match-up that saw the Warriors take home their first championship in 40-years. Compared to the 8.9/26 that the 2015 Game 6 ended up hitting, last night’s game is behind by 29%. The June 16 Game 6 of the 2015 NBA Finals had a total viewership of 23.3 million – the most watched Game 6 ABC has ever had.
As it is, with Jimmy Kimmel Live: Game Night (2.7/11) and NBA Countdown (3.5/14), ABC won the night with a 5.2/18 rating and 14.41 million viewers.