SBD/Issue 175/Sports Media

TNT's Lakers-Suns Gets 6.1 Overnight; ESPN Earns 4.4 For Magic-Celts

Lakers-Suns Game Three On TNT Is
Weekend's Most-Watched Sports Telecast

TNT earned a 6.1 overnight Nielsen rating for last night's Lakers-Suns NBA Western Conference Finals Game Three from 8:30-11:34pm ET, marking the weekend's highest-rated sports telecasts on broadcast or cable TV. Last night's game, which aired up against the series finale of ABC's "Lost," is down 7.6% from a 6.6 overnight for Magic-Cavaliers Game Three of the Eastern Conference Finals on the same weekend last year. TNT's coverage of Lakers-Spurs Western Conference Finals Game Three in '08 earned a 4.4 overnight. Meanwhile, ESPN earned a 4.4 overnight Nielsen rating for Saturday night's Magic-Celtics NBA Eastern Conference Finals Game Three. On the comparable weekend the past two years, ABC had aired the Saturday night Conference Final game (THE DAILY). FANHOUSE.com's Milton Kent wondered why ABC is "not airing any more" of the Celtics-Magic series "beyond last Sunday's opener." The "easy answer is that May sweeps don't end until Wednesday," but the potential Games Six and Seven of Celtics-Magic "would take place outside of sweeps, and ought to air on ABC" (FANHOUSE.com, 5/21).

NOT-SO-FANTASTIC VOYAGE: The Suns beat the Lakers 118-109 last night to cut their deficit in the Western Conference Finals to 2-1, but in Austin, Cedric Golden wrote, "Only L.A. and Boston can save this creeping postseason." Golden: "These NBA playoffs have stunk to high hoopdom. ... A league billed as fantastic has given us a fantastically boring playoffs" (AUSTIN AMERICAN-STATESMAN, 5/22). ESPN's Hannah Storm said, "This could be the worst conference finals to set-up one of the best finals that we've ever seen" ("The Sports Reporters," ESPN, 5/23). Meanwhile, in Wisconsin, Mike Woods wonders if the NBA playoffs "can ever match the excitement of the impending NBA Free Agency playoffs" (Appleton POST CRESCENT, 5/24).

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