NBA-Driven TNT Tops Ratings

With a big assist from the National Basketball Association, Turner Network Television was the most-watched cable network for the second quarter of the year, according to the just-in Nielsen Media Research numbers.

TNT attracted an average 2.76 million viewers in prime time, up 9% from the same period a year ago. USA Network, which won the first quarter, came in second with 2.14 million viewers in prime, a 17% improvement over a year ago.

Rounding out the top five were Disney Channel with 1.91 million viewers; Nick at Nite with 1.84 million; and TBS with 1.65 million viewers.

TNT claimed nine of the quarter's 10 most-watched cable programs--all National Basketball Association playoff games. TNT's May 31 telecast of the Los Angeles Lakers and Minnesota Timberwolves attracted 9.44 million viewers, making it the quarter's top show.

Fox News' coverage of President Reagan's funeral June 11 during the 10 p.m. hour was the lone non-NBA program in the top 10, attracting 6.21 million viewers.

Big winners for the ratings period included USA, up 17%; ESPN, up 23% to 1.54 million viewers; The History Channel, up 37% to 1.21 million viewers; and Comedy Central, up a whopping 38% to 946,000 viewers.