ABC Scores With NBA

ABC found itself in unfamiliar territory atop the Nielsen overnight ratings in the 18-49 demo Thursday night, thanks to the first game of the NBA finals between the Spurs and Pistons.

With the caveat that the numbers will change when the West Coast returns come in for the live broadcast, ABC averaged a 3.4 rating/10 share of the night with the game and a repeat of My Wife & Kids (2.6/10).

The game built steadily form a 2.6/9 at 8:30 to a 4.3 at 10, before tailing off in the last half hour up against CSI.

CBS was second on the inght with a 3/9, thanks primarily to its repeat of an hour-and-a--half CSI, which won its final hour (10-11 p.m.) with a 4.5/13 against the basketball game.

CBS' Debut of reality show, The Cut, averaged a 2/7 at 8-9, underperforming a repeat of Cold Case (2.2/7) in the time period the week before. The show features designer Tommy Hilfiger weeding out would-be designers for a shot at a design line under his label and doing his impression of Donald Trump, sending losers on the runway home with the rather harsh, "You're Out of Style".

In the battle of the new reality shows, the winner was NBC's Hit Me Baby One More Time, which averaged a 3.6/11 at 9-10. That was down from its 4.5/13 debut number, but NBC points out it was a 57% improvement over the 2.3 rating it pulled for sitcom repeats this time last year.

NBC took third place on the night thanks to Hit Me Baby and sitcom repeats, in this case back-to-back Joeys. UPN took fourth place (1.8/6), thanks to WWE Smackdown, while Fox barely nipped The WB for fifth with a 1.3/4 for back-to-back O.C. repeats.

The WB averaged a 1.2/4 with repeats of Blue Collar TV and its new reality show Beauty & the Geek.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.