Culminating with the top playoff series ever, TNT closed its Nielsen book on 2011 as the most-watched NBA postseason in cable history.
Last night's coverage of the Miami Heat's Eastern Conference finals series' clincher over the Chicago Bulls scored a 6.3 U.S. household rating and 10.4 million viewers, according to Nielsen data. That was almost a mirror image of TNT's average over the five-game series during which LeBron James, Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh and the rest of the Heat penned in NBA MVP Derrick Rose and his Bulls: a 6.2 rating and 8.6 million viewers. Those numbers surpassed the 5.4 rating and 6.14 million viewers for cable's previous conference record-holder, the 2009 Eastern Conference finals in which James's Cleveland Cavaliers lost to the Orlando Magic.
The Eastern Conference finals - under their current deal with the NBA, TNT and ESPN alternate the conference finals, season to season - put the cherry on top of what was the best regular-season in Turner's 27 years with the pro hoops league, surpassing the 1995-96 campaign, when Michael Jordan ruled the roost, and now its best playoffs. All told, TNT averaged a 3.5 rating, up 13% from the 3.1 mark in 2009 and 5.53 million viewers, a 29 advance from 4.71 million.
In the process, TNT netted sizable double-digit growth across a host of adult and male demos versus its 2010 performance.
Riding that puissant NBA playoffs performance, TNT topped the ad-supported cable rankings as the No. 1 network in primetime throughout its six weeks of coverage - from April 17 through May 26. Additionally, TNT won the night in key adult demos for both broadcast and cable 15 of 22 nights among guys 18 to 34, 10 times with males 18 to 49, five times against persons18 to 34, six times for men 25 to 54 and twice for persons 18 to 49, according to TNT officials.
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