June Madness Arrives
There's nothing like a basketball matchup between the Boston Celtics and the Los Angeles Lakers to lift TV ratings -- and Thursday's coverage on ABC did just that in spades. Game 1 of the NBA finals, played in Los Angeles, averaged 11.7 million viewers and won every half-hour in primetime between 9 00 p.m. and 11 00 p.m., then went on to score even a greater number of viewers in the 11 00 p.m. hour. The telecast's audience was down from the 13.04 million who tuned in to Game 1 of last year's finals between the Lakers and the Orlando Magic. A two-hour edition of Fox's summer talent series So You Think You Can Dance won the 8 00 p.m. hour but fell to second place at 9 00 p.m. behind the basketball contest. Meanwhile, NBC, which once dominated Thursday nights, saw its numbers fall again -- perhaps to their lowest ever for what the network once called "Must See TV" night. Its new 8 30 p.m. sitcom, 100 Questions, could only find 2.23 million viewers.
BOX OFFICE BLAHS LIKELY TO CONTINUEThe box office has no new summer blockbuster to reinforce its sagging fortunes this weekend. Instead it will see the debut of four low-buzz movies, none of which is likely to come close to taking in as much as Shrek Forever After , which is in its third week. Get Him to the Greek, Splice Marmaduke, and Killers are each expected to earn around $15-18 million, while Shrek is likely to come away with about $22-27 million. Get Him to the Greek, in which Russell Brand reprises his rock-star character from Forgetting Sarah Marshall , and Splice , which debuted at the Sundance Film Festival early this year, are each receiving decent reviews. Marmaduke is not. Killers , starring Ashton Kutcher and Katherine Heigl, was not shown in advance to critics.