TV By the Numbers: NBA Finals Fly High Atop Watch-Time, TV Ad Impressions Rankings

Giannis Antetokounmpo #34 of the Milwaukee Bucks drives to the basket against Jae Crowder #99 of the Phoenix Suns during the second half in Game Three of the NBA Finals at Fiserv Forum on July 11, 2021 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Giannis Antetokounmpo #34 of the Milwaukee Bucks drives to the basket against Jae Crowder #99 of the Phoenix Suns during the second half in Game Three of the NBA Finals at Fiserv Forum on July 11, 2021 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Image credit: Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Below, our snapshot of TV by the numbers for the week of July 5-11, shining a spotlight on the most-watched shows and networks using glass-level data from Vizio's Inscape, and the top shows and networks by TV ad impressions with insights via

Most-Watched Shows and Networks

Via Inscape, Vizio's TV data product with glass-level insights from a panel of more than 17 million active and opted-in smart TVs. Data is linear, live TV only and includes all episode types (new and reruns). Rankings are by percent share duration (i.e., time spent watching).

The NBA Finals are well underway between the Milwaukee Bucks and Phoenix Suns, and after the first three games of the series, the NBA once again leads in minutes watched on TV. During the week of July 5-11, the NBA Finals remained in first place with 1.77% of watch-time (down just slightly from the week prior, when both conference finals series were still going on).

Entering its own final round, the 2021 Wimbledon Championships vault up to second place this week with 1.19% of minutes watched. Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and Good Morning America come in third and fourth, respectively. MLB games round out the top five shows by watch-time, with 0.75% of minutes watched.

Sports programming peppers the rest of the top 25 as well. ESPN’s SportsCenter sits at No. 10 with 0.55% of watch-time, while the NHL’s Stanley Cup Final is No. 15 after the Tampa Bay Lightning took home the franchise’s second straight championship. The 2020 European Championships (soccer) culminated with an Italy win and a No. 21 ranking by minutes watched. PGA Tour action follows closely behind at No. 22.

Love It or List It and Two and a Half Men are both new to this week’s top 25, as the former jumped up from outside the top 50 shows by watch-time to claim No. 24. The latter was No. 28 the previous week, and finished No. 23 this time around.

Also Read: Summer 2021 TV Premiere Dates

Most-watched shows on TV by percent duration July 5-11

Following three straight weeks with NBC leading the watch-time ranking, ABC makes a one-spot jump back to No. 1. The network benefits from the NBA Finals en route to 7.09% of total minutes watched. NBC's down just one spot to No. 2 with 5.60% of watch-time, followed by CBS (5.29%), Fox News (3.76%) and Fox (3.50%). Baseball, primetime reality TV and game shows are what helped push Fox up from sixth the previous week.

Hallmark makes the chart’s biggest move of the week, from No. 17 to No. 10, followed by Univision from No. 16 to No. 11. The start of Shark Week helps Discovery Channel swim upstream from No. 25 to No. 20, with 1.24% of minutes watched. Bravo was No. 25 this week, with 1.07% of watch-time.

Most-watched networks on TV by percent duration July 5-11

Top Shows and Networks By TV Ad Impressions

Via, the always-on TV ad measurement and attribution company. Rankings are by TV ad impressions, for new episodes only. 

As one would expect, the NBA Finals deliver the most TV ad impressions, keeping the NBA atop this list once again. The Finals had nearly 2.5 billion TV ad impressions from July 5-11 — almost 1.6 billion more than the No. 2 show, Good Morning America (925 million on the week). Today remains in third with 744 million TV ad impressions, followed by The Young and the Restless (636 million) and Major League Baseball games (595 million) to close out the top five.

Sports-related programming also takes up the next two spots, with the Stanley Cup Finals at No. 6, and 2021 Wimbledon Championships at No. 7. Airing all of the highlights from the aforementioned events, SportsCenter is No. 11 on the week, with 451 million TV ad impressions. PGA Tour Golf is No. 16.

News also remains a fixture among the top 25 shows by TV ad impressions. About half of the shows in this ranking are news-related, including four of the top 10. Reality TV is also a factor, representing three of the top 25 shows: America’s Got Talent (No. 13), Love Island (No. 22) and Big Brother (No. 23).

Top shows by TV ad impressions July 5-11

ABC and NBC switch places yet again, with ABC leaping over NBC for the No. 1 spot in this week’s ad-impressions-by-network ranking. ABC benefits from the NBA Finals while taking a sizable (6.4 billion to 4.1 billion) lead. NBC still earns second place on the week with the Summer Olympics right around the corner.

After the top two spots, CBS lands at No. 3 with 3.9 billion TV ad impressions, followed by Fox News at No. 4 with 3.8 billion, then CNN at No. 5 with 2.3 billion. Thanks in part to baseball, Fox climbs from No. 13 to No. 13 while increasing impressions by 9% week-over-week. HGTV is up three spots from No. 15 to No. 12, and Discovery rides the start of Shark Week from No. 16 to No. 13.

Food Network closes out the weekly ranking at No. 25 after not appearing in the previous week’s list.

Top networks by TV ad impressions July 5-11

John Cassillo is an analyst and contributor with TV[R]EV.