NEW YORK (AP) — No Lakers? No Celtics? No problem.
The first three games of the NBA Finals between the Miami Heat and Dallas Mavericks were more popular with viewers than any of pro basketball's ultimate series since 2004, the Nielsen Co. said. The games were up slightly over last year's Boston Celtics-Los Angeles Lakers series, averaging 15.34 million viewers.
The Celtics and the Lakers are the NBA's marquee teams and popular with viewers. But stars like LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Dirk Nowitzki are proving compelling this year.
The three games led ABC to a victory in Nielsen's weekly prime-time ratings competition. ABC averaged 7.7 million viewers last week (4.7 rating, 8 share).
CBS was second with 6.6 million viewers, (4.3, 7), NBC had 5.6 million (3.4, 6), Fox had 4.3 million (2.6, 4), ION Television had 1.2 million (0.8, 1) and the CW had 930,000 (0.6, 1).
Among the Spanish-language networks, Univision led with a 3.6 million viewer average (1.9, 3), Telemundo had 1.2 million (0.6, 1), TeleFutura had 470,000 (0.2, 0), Azteca had 200,000 and Estrella 190,000 (both 0.1, 0).
Nielsen did not immediately have last week's evening news ratings available.
A ratings point represents 1,147,000 households, or 1 percent of the nation's estimated 114.7 million TV homes. The share is the percentage of in-use televisions tuned to a given show.
For the week of May 30-June 5, the top 10 shows, their networks and viewerships: NBA Finals: Dallas vs. Miami, Game 2, ABC, 15.52 million; NBA Finals: Miami vs. Dallas, Game 3, ABC, 15.34 million; "America's Got Talent" (Tuesday), NBC, 15.28 million; NBA Finals: Dallas vs. Miami, Game 1, ABC, 15.17 million; "The Voice," NBC, 14.41 million; "NCIS," CBS, 11.31 million; "NCIS: Los Angeles," CBS, 9.91 million; "60 Minutes," CBS, 9.55 million; "The Mentalist," CBS, 8.77 million; "So You Think You Can Dance" (Wednesday), Fox, 8.58 million.
ABC is owned by The Walt Disney Co. CBS is owned by CBS Corp. CW is a joint venture of Warner Bros. Entertainment and CBS Corp. Fox and My Network TV are units of News Corp. NBC and Telemundo are owned by General Electric Co. ION Television is owned by ION Media Networks. TeleFutura is a division of Univision. Azteca America is a wholly owned subsidiary of TV Azteca S.A. de C.V.