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NBA finals give ABC rare ratings victory. New summer series prove no match for hoops or reruns

Too bad ABC can't air the NBA finals year-round. The three games last week between the Detroit Pistons and the Los Angeles Lakers were the most-watched shows of the week, and they assured customary fourth-place network ABC of a rare win for the week, averaging 8.6 million viewers, according to Nielsen. Sunday's Game 4 was the most popular show, attracting 20.3 million sports fans.

Actually, the biggest TV event last week was the coverage of Ronald Reagan's funeral proceedings. Some 35.1 million mourners watched Friday night's memorial service at the Reagan presidential library, though viewers were spread across ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, and CNBC. Another 20.8 million watched the official state service held during the day on Friday.

Between basketball, funeral coverage, and reruns, most of the new shows being launched over the summer couldn't catch a break. Fox's ''North Shore,'' ''The Jury,'' and ''The Casino'' have shown lackluster numbers so far, as have NBC's ''Come to Papa'' and ''For Love or Money,'' ABC's ''The Ultimate Love Test,'' and the WB's ''Summerland.'' Only NBC's new season of ''Last Comic Standing'' has shown ratings promise, with two episodes finishing in the top 20 last week.

CBS, which landed five reruns in the top 10 last week, finished in second place, averaging 8.4 million viewers. NBC came in third with 7.3 million, followed by Fox's 4.4 million. Fox barely finished ahead of the netlets, with UPN averaging 2.8 million and the WB 2.4 million.

Originally posted Jun 16, 2004
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