ABC earned a 10.4 overnight rating for Heat-Spurs NBA Finals Game 1 on Thursday night, down 2% from a 10.6 overnight for the same matchup last year. Thursday's game also is down 12% from an 11.8 overnight for Heat-Thunder Game 1 in '12 and down 3% from a 10.7 overnight for Mavericks-Heat Game 1 in '11. Still, the overnight was good enough to deliver the 38th straight night that an NBA Finals game has won across all of TV. Heat-Spurs Game 1 earned a 40.4 local rating in San Antonio and a 30.5 rating in Miami-Ft. Lauderdale. The top markets were rounded out by Austin (17.9), West Palm Beach (17.2) and Las Vegas (13.7). ABC's telecast peaked at a 12.7 rating during the final quarter hour (Austin Karp, Assistant Managing Editor).
AIR BALL: In Ft. Lauderdale, Harvey Fialkov notes ABC announcers Mike Breen and Mark Jackson before the start of the third quarter "wiped the sweaty brow of analyst Jeff Van Gundy, who said, 'I feel like pouring a bucket of water over my head.'" The broadcast crew was responding to the high temperature inside AT&T Center as a result of the air conditioning unit breaking "early in the first half." The net's Jalen Rose "didn’t feel that the players would be affected by the sweltering temperature because they grew up playing outside or in non air-conditioned gyms during AAU tournaments." Sideline reporter Doris Burke then overheard Heat F Chris Bosh "say that he felt as if he, 'was playing in his high school gym'" (South Florida SUN-SENTINEL, 6/6).
ACTION JACKSON: In Oklahoma City, Mel Bracht wrote Jackson's return to broadcasting -- after spending three years as the Warriors' coach -- is "a victory for viewers," who once again "get the strong views" Jackson offers. He "meshes well" with Van Gundy and Breen, "the NBA's best play-by-play announcer." Jackson's return to the booth "means less air time for the self-defacing Van Gundy, known for his quirky, unpredictable comments." Van Gundy: "Basketball fans in America are applauding the three-man booth so they don’t have to listen to my inane rants. And believe me, no one is upset, myself included, that I do less talking" (OKLAHOMAN, 6/5).
STAINLESS STEELE: The HOLLYWOOD REPORTER's Debbie Emery noted ESPN's Sage Steele said in an interview that "because timing is restricted, she has to run a tight ship" on "NBA Countdown" during the Finals with analysts Rose, Bill Simmons and Doug Collins. Steele: "We have half an hour for pregame and after commercials, that is about 17 minutes. We are greedy and want all the time we can get because I work with three awesome analysts who have a lot to say, so we are going to have to condense and be really precise about our content. My biggest challenge is remembering that I am on TV and not just sitting in a bar talking with these knowledgeable guys." She said of working with Simmons, "Bill is on the far end (of the desk), and he and I have established some sign language too, I always know when he has more to say as he lifts his head and chin up in a 'what's up' kind of motion, then I look at his eyes and he looks back hard at me. I am proud of myself for mastering the art of sign language with Bill Simmons!" (HOLLYWOODREPORTER.com, 6/5).