Game 5 of the National Basketball Association championships was like the rest of the league’s pandemic-plagued season – it didn’t follow the script.
Instead of the Los Angeles Lakers capturing their 17th world championship, the Miami Heat spoiled their party, winning 111-108, to set up a Game 6 on Sunday. While the celebration was postponed, ABC had plenty to cheer about, leading the Friday night ratings demos with a 2.0 for the actual game, and 1.3 for the NBA Countdown pregame and Jimmy Kimmel Live! warmup shows.
Even though the Friday game’s ratings topped the night, the NBA has seen the overall series ratings slump to historic lows. While some viewer attrition may be expected from competition with baseball and football, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver also said that the league is reassessing and likely modifying its activism in politics and social justice for next year. That’s been a factor in declining ratings, according to many observers.
Elsewhere, NBC’s saw its Dateline score a solid 0.5 in adults 18-49, with an even higher 0.7 among adults 25-54. The former marked the newsmag’s top Friday 18-49 rating since May 15, with the 25-54 score its best since July 31. A rerun of American Ninja Warrior opened the night.
CBS had its Greatest #AtHome Videos come in at an 0.4, dipping slightly with a new Undercover Boss to 0.3. A rerun of Blue Bloods also had an 0.3 to close the evening.
Fox’s WWE Friday Night SmackDown had an 0.6, one of its highest ratings in weeks.
The CW’s Masters of Illusion and World’s Funniest Animals each had an 0.1, sandwiched by reruns of those shows, which also came in with 0.1 each.