TNT Fast-Breaks to Weekly Win

Hoops, there it is.

Riding the strength of its coverage of the National Basketball Association Eastern Conference Finals, Turner Network Television dunked its cable competition, averaging a 3.0 household rating the week of May 30-June 5, according to a Disney ABC Cable Networks Group analysis of Nielsen Media Research data.

With its coverage of the Miami Heat-Detroit Pistons series grabbing three of the top six ratings spots for the period -- including the period’s No. 1, game four May 31, which drew a 5.0 household mark -- and a trio of Law & Order installments also finishing in the top 10, the drama network held a 50% edge over second-place USA Network, which counted the top series of the week.

The second-season premiere of The 4400 June 5 earned a 4.0 household rating to finish fifth for the week. Network executives said the episode drew the highest delivery for a basic-cable original series among adults 18-49 (a 2.4 rating) and 25-54 (2.9) this year.

Disney Channel was third with a 1.9, ahead of the 1.7 rang up by both Nick at Nite and TBS. Lifetime Television was sixth with 1.6, followed by Cartoon Network and Turner South, both of which notched a 1.5. The regional network was aided by coverage of a number of Atlanta Braves Major League Baseball games.

Rounding out the top 10 were Spike TV, Fox News Channel and Hallmark Channel, each of which scored a 1.2 mark. Hallmark’s move into the top 10 was aided by miniseries Frederic Forsyth’s Icon, a series of movies and installments of Walker, Texas Ranger.

On a down note, Discovery Channel’s much-touted Greatest American event got off to a slow start: Over its three-hour debut June 5, the show averaged only a 0.7 household rating.

Gauged on a total-programming-day basis, Nickelodeon was first with a 1.8, ahead of sister network and channel sharer NAN’s 1.5. TNT was third with a 1.4, while Cartoon and Disney were next, each with a 1.3.