What entertainment programs have been unable to do for ABC recently, basketball has -- lifted the network to first place in the weekly Nielsen ratings. Although viewership was down slightly from last year's NBA series between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Boston Celtics, this year's, between the Lakers and the smaller-market Orlando Magic, dominated primetime on the three nights of the week that it aired. The series, won by the Lakers three games to two, averaged 14.35 million viewers over the five games versus 14.94 million for last year's six-game series. (By contrast, the top-rated show on any of the other networks was CBS's The Mentalist, which drew 11.62 million viewers.) It was the network's best performance since last September when it kicked off the fall season with five hours of its hit series Dancing With The Stars . Meanwhile on cable, the season opener of HBO's heavily promoted True Blood on Sunday attracted 3.7 million viewers -- the most to tune in to an HBO original program since June 2007, when the pay-TV channel aired the series finale of The Sopranos .
The top ten shows of the week according to Nielsen Research 1. NBA Finals - Game 4 (Thursday) ABC, 9.4/17; 2. NBA Finals - Game 3 (Tuesday), ABC, 8.6/15; 3. NBA Finals - Game 5 (Sunday), ABC, 8.0/14; 4. The Mentalist (Tuesday), CBS, 7.6/12; 5. NBA Trophy Presentation (Sunday) ABC, 7.5/13; 6. NCIS , CBS, 7.2/13; 7. 48 Hours Mystery (Tuesday), CBS, 6.1/11; 7. The Mentalist (Thursday), CBS, 6.1/10; 7. Two and a Half Men, CBS, 6.1/10; 10. Csi Crime Scene Investigation, CBS, 5.9/10.