Friday Ratings: Zion Williamson Pro Debut A Hit, Even As The Building Shakes

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ESPN generated its highest-rated NBA Summer League game ever across networks on Friday night, according to Nielsen.

The telecast featuring former Duke stars Zion Williamson and the New Orleans Pelicans vs. R.J. Barrett and the New York Knicks drew a record 1.2 metered market rating on ESPN, up 33 percent from the previous record set in 2017 between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Boston Celtics, which was Lonzo Ball’s expected debut.

The stats are even more remarkable in that the game was cut short because of an earthquake, and Williamson was injured in the first half.

Elsewhere, NBC again topped the night among the networks, with Dateline and a strong lead-in from American Ninja Warrior boosting the peacock network.

NBC was #1 among adults 18-49, adults 25-54 and all other key demographics (including a tie in women 18-34) with Dateline garnering an 0.5/3 and 3.11 million audience, down a tick from last week but still enough to top a sleepy summer night. American Ninja Warrior had an 0.5/3 and 2.60 million viewers, also down a tenth from the week prior. 

At ABC, Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. had an 0.3/2 and 1.94 million, down from last week, with the two-hour 20/20 clocking in at 0.4/2 and 2.51 million total viewers also down from the prior week.

CBS led with a rerun of Hawaii Five-O (0.3/2 and 3.44 million viewers) at 8 PM, flipping it with a Magnum P.I. rerun (0.3/2 and 3.22 million), closing out the primetime evening with a Blue Bloods rerun (O3.2, 3.61 million viewers)

Fox had a rerun of First Responders (0.3/2 and 1.59, with a MasterChef rerun coming in at 0.3/2 and 1.38 million.

At The CW, a rerun of Masters of Illusion drew an 0.2/1 and 0.80 million in its first half-hour, rising slightly with an 0.2/1 and 0.89 in its second half-hour. A rerun of The Big Stage variety show had an 0.2/1 and 0.80 in its first half-hour, then 0.1/1 and 0.65 in its second.


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