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TNT Nets 4M Viewers as Knicks Spoil LeBron's Return

LeBron James went back to his erstwhile palace, and even though the New York Knicks spoiled the new-look Cleveland Cavaliers on-court coronation, TNT rang up some royal ratings with its NBA coverage last night.

TNT's Oct. 30 telecast of the Knicks' 95-90 win over the Cavs  -- keyed by Carmelo Anthony's baseline jumper over James (pictured) -- at Quicken Loans Arena averaged a 2.6 rating and 4 million viewers, according to Nielsen data, gains of 44% and 50% from the Knicks-Chicago Bulls in the same window last season.

Thursday night’s Knicks-Cavs telecast was up 117% and 111% among total viewers compared with TNT’s 1.2 and 1.87 million average audience for 2013-14 NBA regular-season games.  The telecast – peaking with 2.9 rating and 4.5 million viewers from 10:30-10:45 p.m. – netted a 27.2 metered market rating in Cleveland and a 7.0 mark in the New York DMA.

TNT officials said the Knicks-Cavs telecast also registered significant growth across all key demos including a 56% jump among persons 18 to 49 and a 60% amelioration among guys 18 to 49 over the same telecast window in 2013.  Moreover, last night’s game was up 116% and 122% in those demos versus the network's NBA regular season average. 

Overall, the network’s NBA Thursday doubleheader – the nightcap featured the Los Angeles Clippers besting the Oklahoma City Thunder – averaged 2.9 million total viewers and a 1.9  rating, up 21% and 19% respectively over the comparable doubleheader last season.  The Oct. 30 twinbill grew 54% in total viewers and 58% in rating above over last year’s  regular season coverage.