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Weekly Cable Ratings: NBA, NHL Playoffs Propel TNT, ESPN

Igor Shesterkin #31 of the New York Rangers skates against the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game Seven of the First Round of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Madison Square Garden on May 15, 2022 in New York City.
(Image credit: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

The NBA and the NHL playoffs proved to be ratings juggernauts for TNT and ESPN as both networks placed among the top three most-watched services on the primetime and total day charts.

TNT finished in first place in primetime for the week of May 9 to May 15, averaging 3.4 million viewers, topping Fox News (2.2 million viewers) for the second straight week, according to Nielsen. The network was led by both its NBA and NHL playoff game coverage, including this past Sunday’s Dallas Mavericks-Phoenix Suns Game Seven NBA Western Conference semifinal series telecast which drew more than 6 million viewers, according to Nielsen. 

ESPN, which also televised several NBA and NHL playoffs games, averaged 2.1 million viewers to finish third for the week, followed by MSNBC’s 983,000 viewers and HGTV’s 927,000 watchers. 

TBS, which drew 2.3 million viewers for its May 15 New York Rangers-Pittsburgh Penguins Game Seven NHL playoffs telecast, averaged 821,000 viewers to finish in sixth place for the week, followed by INSP (764,000 viewers), Hallmark Channel (743,000), TLC (722,000) and History (721,000).

Fox News retained the total day crown for the 19th consecutive week with 1.4 million viewers, besting TNT (912,000 viewers), ESPN (757,000), MSNBC (621,000) and HGTV (502,000), reported Nielsen. 

R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.