SBD/Closing Bell

Bulls-Heat Game Marks Second-Best NBA Audience Ever On Cable

TNT earned a 6.4 U.S. rating and 10.889 million viewers for Sunday night’s Bulls-Heat Eastern Conference Finals Game Three, marking the second-most-viewed NBA game in cable TV history. The audience figure falls just short of the record 11.1 million viewers set in Game One. Through three games of the Eastern Conference Finals, TNT has averaged a 6.2 rating and 10.667 million viewers, up 35% and 42%, respectively, from the comparable Lakers-Suns Western Conference Finals last year (TNT).

Meanwhile, a source said that TNT's "Inside The NBA" studio show will "originate all of its programming from inside AmericanAirlines Arena" for tomorrow night's Bulls-Heat Eastern Conference Finals Game Four. The show following last night's Game Three aired from outside the arena, and TNT's Charles Barkley "became the focus of intense jeering and other acts of derision in the wake of his recent criticism of the Heat." Barkley "playfully responded" at one point with a "middle-finger salute." A fan then threw "what appeared to be a towel" at the analyst while he was on the temporary set of the program (, 5/23).
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