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Volume 24 No. 134
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Heat-Pacers Game 7 Is TNT's Best NBA Audience; Playoffs Down Through Conf. Finals

TNT finished with a 7.1 U.S. rating and 11.5 million viewers for the Heat's blowout win over the Pacers in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals on Monday night from 8:31-11:24pm ET, marking the best audience for any NBA game telecast in the net's 29-year history with the league. The 11.5 million viewers also mark TNT's third-best audience for any program in the net's history. Despite the record-setting TNT audience, Heat-Pacers Game 7 is down 8% and 14%, respectively, from a 7.7 rating and 13.3 million viewers for the comparable Heat-Celtics Game 7 last year, which aired on ESPN on a Saturday night. Monday night's telecast peaked at 13.1 million viewers during the 10:00-10:30pm window. The game also topped NBC's "The Voice," which drew 11.3 million viewers (7.1 rating) (Austin Karp, Assistant Managing Editor). In Miami, Barry Jackson writes of the 37.1 local rating in the Miami-Ft. Lauderdale market for Game 7, "Not only did it smash the local rating for Game 7 of the Heat-Celtics Eastern finals last June (a 25.0), but it wasn't far off from CBS-4's 40.7 for this year's Super Bowl" (, 6/5).

: TNT finished with a 5.2 rating and 8.4 million viewers for the seven-game Eastern Conference Finals, up 4% and 8%, respectively, from the net's 5.0 rating and 7.8 million viewers for the six-game Thunder-Spurs Western Conference Finals last season. TNT led all networks (cable and broadcast) among key adult male demos during each night of the series. Meanwhile, ESPN and ABC finished with a 3.1 rating and 4.9 million viewers for the Spurs' sweep of the Grizzlies. Last season, the net averaged a 6.2 rating and 10.1 million viewers for the seven-game Heat-Celtics series. Through the Conference Finals, NBA games have averaged a 2.7 rating and 4.2 million viewers across ABC, ESPN, TNT, ESPN2 and NBA TV, down 16% and 15%, respectively, compared to the same period last year (Karp).

STEP UP TO THE MIC: ESPN's Jeff Van Gundy yesterday discussed NBA coaches being required to do in-game interviews and whether it is just a gimmick for TV. Van Gundy: "I think there's no coach that looks forward to it. I think some hide it better than others. I don't consider it a gimmick." He added, "Because they are distracted, I don't think those are particularly revealing." Van Gundy: "I used to like it when they had the boom mics in the huddle because you didn't have to do anything different." In lieu of interviewing coaches, Van Gundy said, "I think what would be as good is interviewing the head official; what does he see, what's happening in the first quarter. You know, what are they looking for; what is the scouting report on these two teams" (THE DAILY).