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TNT's Audience Rises to Record Level with 2012 BBVA Rising Stars Challenge

Continuing its pro hoops momentum, TNT netted the biggest audience ever for the young all-stars competition on Friday night.
The drama network, no doubt stoked by the presence of the Los Angeles Clippers Blake Griffin and the New York Knicks international point guard sensation Jeremy Lin, posted up a 1.7 U.S. national rating, 1.91 million households and 2.79 million viewers with its exclusive coverage of the 2012 BBVA Rising Stars Challenge at NBA All-Star Weekend in Orlando, according to Nielsen data.

Prior to the Feb. 24 telecast, the most-watched of these events dated to 2004, which generated a 1.6 rating (the 2012 game was up 6%), 1.69 million households (13%) and 2.17 million viewers (26%). The 2004 contest showcased such top-flight NBA All-Stars as LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and Carmelo Anthony.
Measured against last year's contest, the Feb. 24 telecast -- during which Cleveland's Kyrie Irving, the top pick in the 2012 draft, collected MVP honors -- scored a 13% rise in ratings from a 1.5 for the 2011 event; an 11% gain from 1.73 million households last year; and a 12% advance from 2.44 million watchers a year ago.
On Thursday night, TNT averaged 5.32 million watchers for the Miami Heat's pressurized take-down of Lin's Knicks in the opener of its Feb. 23 doubleheader, while Oklahoma City's win over the Los Angeles Lakers scored with 3.67 million viewers on average.
Those deliveries capped a first-half of the lockout-truncated 2011-12 NBA season during which TNT registered the five most-watched games on cable. Herewith, TNT's averages heading into the All-Star break:

• U.S. household rating: 1.7 vs. 1.5 rating (+13%)
• Total Viewers: 2.73 million vs. 2.44 million (+12%)
• Households: 1.91 million vs. 1.73 million (+11%)
• Persons 18 to 34: 992,000 vs. 914,000 (+9%)
• Persons 18 to 49: 1.56 million  vs. 1.43 million (+10%)
• Adults 25 to 54: 1.39 million vs. 1.13 million (+23%)
• Males 18 to 34: 760,000 vs. 643,000 (+18%)
• Males 18 to 49: 1.16 million vs. 1.02 million (+13%)
• Males 25 to 54: 1.02 million vs. 828,000 (+23%)