Weekly Cable Ratings: TNT Tops Primetime; Fox News Rules in Total Day

Khris Middleton #22 of the Milwaukee Bucks shoots the game winning basket as teammate Giannis Antetokounmpo looks on in the final minutes of overtime during game seven of the Eastern Conference second round at Barclays Center on June 19, 2021 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City.
TNT's June 19 Milwaukee Bucks-Brooklyn Nets game drew 6.9 million viewers to top all cable shows last week. (Image credit: Elsa/Getty Images)

The NBA Playoffs have helped both TNT and ESPN climb the primetime ratings charts as the league enters its semifinal playoff round. 

TNT averaged 3.6 million primetime viewers for the week of June 14 to June 20, topping all cable networks for the fourth straight week, according to Nielsen. TNT was paced by two game 7 weekend playoff games: its June 19 Milwaukee Bucks-Brooklyn Nets overtime thriller averaged a 2021 playoffs high 6.9 million viewers, while its June 20 Atlanta Hawks-Philadelphia 76’ers contest drew 6.1 million viewers -- the top two most watched shows on cable for the week. 

Read Also: NBA Playoff Game 7s Burst Post-'Bubble' Ratings Drought 

NBA playoffs-infused ESPN finished third for the week with 1.7 million viewers, behind  TNT as well as Fox News, which averaged 2.1 million viewers for the week, according to Nielsen.

MSNBC finished fourth with 1.2 million viewers, followed by USA Network’s 973,000 viewers. 

Discovery Channel (841,000 viewers), TLC (838,000), Hallmark Channel (785,000), and CNN (782,000) rounded out the top 10 most watched networks in primetime for the week. 

TNT and ESPN finished second and third respectively, on the total day charts, trailing only Fox News, which led all networks in the category for the 18th consecutive week with 1.1 million viewers, according to 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.