Sopranos Goes Out with a Bang

June 11, 2007–ABC's coverage of basketball's NBA Finals and CBS' telecast of the Tony Awards both suffered in the ratings Sunday night, due to competition from the series finale of HBO's “The Sopranos.”

Detailed ratings for “The Sopranos” won't be issued by Nielsen until Tuesday, but metered-market overnights for 55 of the nation's biggest cities show the mob drama averaging a 6.4 household rating. This is a 42% rise over the previous week's 4.5 overnight rating, which translated to 8 million viewers nationally.

In New York, “The Sopranos” topped an 18 rating, more than double the 8.2 that CBS garnered for the Tony Awards, even though HBO is available in roughly just one-third of the nation's homes.

Preliminaries for the “61st Annual Tony Awards,” meanwhile, suggest Broadway's biggest night hit a ratings low Sunday with a 1.2 rating/3 share in adults 18-49 and about 6.3 million viewers overall. In each of the two previous years, the show earned a 1.4/4 in the demo, while its previous low-water mark in total viewers was 6.5 million in 2005.

ABC's NBA Finals game between the San Antonio Spurs and Cleveland Cavaliers averaged a mere 3.1/8 in 18-49 and 7.7 million viewers overall, which should translate into about a 3.5 rating in the demo and 8.2 million viewers overall in the nationals — a significant decline from the 5.3/15 in 18-49 and 12.4 million viewers overall for last year's Game 2 contest between Miami and Dallas.

Fox was led by repeats of “The Simpsons” at 8 (2.6/8 in 18-49, 5.2 million viewers overall) and “Family Guy” (2.2/6 in 18-49, 4.5 million viewers overall), while an original episode of returning laffer “The Loop” dipped to a 1.7/5 in 18-49 and 3.4 million viewers overall.

NBC was up week to week with its two-hour “Dateline” (1.8/6 in 18-49, 7.3 million viewers overall) and repeats of “Friday Night Lights” (1.1/3 in 18-49, 3.6 million viewers overall) and “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” (1.8/5 in 18-49, 5.9 million viewers overall).