ABC Sees Overnights Down For NBA Playoffs Opening Weekend, ESPN Up
ABC's Nuggets-Lakers Western Conference First Round Game One earned a 3.9 overnight rating to lead all telecasts during the opening weekend of the NBA Playoffs. That figure is down 15% from a 4.6 overnight for the comparable Lakers-Hornets opener last year. On Saturday, the Heat's blowout of the Knicks earned a 3.8 overnight, down slightly from a 3.9 for the Heat-76ers opener last year. ESPN saw gains for two of its three windows over the weekend. Mavericks-Thunder Game One in the late window Saturday night had the top overnight with a 3.1 rating, up 15% from the comparable Mavericks-Trail Blazers game last year. The net earned a 2.4 overnight for Jazz-Spurs in the early afternoon window yesterday, up slightly from a 2.3 rating for the comparable Grizzlies-Spurs game on TNT last year. Magic-Pacers on Saturday afternoon earned a 2.1 overnight, down 16% from a 2.5 for Hawks-Magic last year. Figures for TNT's three games over the weekend were unavailable at presstime (Austin Karp, THE DAILY).
ON-AIR REVIEWS: In Denver, Dusty Saunders gives ESPN’s Jeff Van Gundy his “early vote” as the NBA’s “best analyst.” Van Gundy “surveys what happens on the floor with an expertise based on his coaching experience.” His background stories, dealing “with players and coaches, nearly always have relevance to the game he's covering” (DENVER POST, 4/30). In Tampa, Tom Jones writes he initially “didn't care for ABC's NBA studio setup this season with a roundtable of analysts, including Michael Wilbon, Magic Johnson, Jon Barry and Chris Broussard.” There was “no real host, and the conversation seemed to ramble and meander with no point guard.” But the show “has found its stride.” Wilbon seems to have “taken over as the host, although he isn't a traditional host.” He gives “more opinions than most hosts, but that's fine because his opinions are interesting.” Now the show has “a steady rhythm and each segment appears to have a purpose, and that has turned the show into solid TV” (TAMPA BAY TIMES, 4/30).