As the end of the television season gave way to the start of summer, live programming dominated in primetime last week -- with Univision and TNT among those cashing in.
The Spanish-language Univision, with its weeknight novelas always in originals, was among four networks tying for the week's lead among young adults (while also finishing ahead of everybody in the younger, 18-34 half of the demo). And TNT, with three games of the NBA Eastern Conference Finals, vaulted up to fifth.
ABC's "Modern Family" edged out basketball and NBC's "The Voice" to claim the No. 1 spot -- with both of these shows expected to surge well ahead of all NBA action once all DVR playback is counted.
Overall, according to Nielsen estimates, ABC, NBC and Fox tied for the week's lead in adults 18-49 (1.4 rating/5 share), and were followed by TNT (1.3/5) and CBS (1.2/4). Outside of basketball-driven TNT, the top cable network was USA (0.7/2). ABC won in adults 25-54 (1.9/5) and total viewers.
Univision was led as usual by "Amores Verdaderos" (True Love), which peaked with Tuesday's episode (2.0/6 in 18-49, 4.81m). It also got a big boost from the finale of soccer's Liga MX (1.9/4 in 18-49, 4.48m), the league's most-watched game to date -- on any network.
Its Spanish-language rival, Telemundo, also had a good week. Boosted in part by more highs for singing competition "La Voz Kids" (best-yet 2.06 million on Sunday), it ranked eighth among all networks in primetime in adults 18-49 and tenth in total viewers.
Elsewhere, ABC's "Dancing With the Stars" may have had its lowest-rated season to date, but it put up still-sizable numbers for its finale on Tuesday (2.7/7 in 18-49, 15.20m) and contributed to the net's weekly victory in total viewers.
"Modern Family" (3.7/11, 10.01m) was the anchor of a solid Wednesday for the net, as its top shows wrapped their seasons. "The Middle" (2.0/7, 7.70m) hit a 12-week high in 18-49 and drew its largest overall audience yet for a finale, and "Nashville" (1.9/5, 6.02m) closed the night by hitting a four-month demo high.
Debut of new crime drama "Motive" did OK on Thursday (1.3/4 in 18-49, 6.06m), slightly outperforming skedmate "Rookie Blue" (1.2/4, 5.99m), which returned down from last year.
NBC, the only one of the Big Four networks to perform better than the same week last year, was led by "The Voice" on Monday (3.5/10 in 18-49, 10.81m) and Tuesday (3.2/9, 10.18m). The net's "Grimm" (1.7/5 in 18-49, 4.99m) and "Chicago Fire" (1.7/5 in 18-49, 6.13m) wrapped their seasons with OK numbers, while "Smash" concluded with a two-hour episode on Sunday (0.5/2, 2.44m).
"Hannibal" isn't doing much on Thursday nights (1.0/3 in 18-49, 2.69m), but it did build on its repeat lead-in and continues to be a big DVR gainer.
Fox saw modest numbers for the premiere of Thursday unscripted series "Does Someone Have to Go?" (1.3/4 in 18-49, 3.02m) and predictably low ratings for Monday's premiere of comedy "The Goodwin Games" (0.6/2, 1.61m), which is airing between repeats of two of the net's live-action laffers. It fared better on Wednesday with the season premiere of "MasterChef" (2.2/7 in 18-49, 5.39 million for its two-hour average), which put up solid numbers despite opposing some season finales.
At CBS, Wednesday's two-hour season finale of "Criminal Minds" was the standout (2.8/8 in 18-49, 11.01m) in a week when it aired only a handful of original programs. One of its encores was Monday's "Mike & Molly" (2.1/6 in 18-49, 7.92 million), whose season finale had to be postponed due to a tornado storyline that hit too close to home at a time when Oklahoma was ravaged by twisters.
In cable, TNT rolled behind games of the Indiana-Miami NBA playoff series on Wednesday (3.6/12, 8.25m), Sunday (3.1/11 in 18-49, 7.28m) and Friday (3.0/11, 6.98m), all of which ranked among the top six programs of the week in adults 18-49. Add in Game 4 on Tuesday of the current week (8.1 million), and TNT has now aired the four most-watched NBA playoff games this spring -- and can look forward to even bigger numbers with the next two games in the East finals now that the best-of-seven series is even at two games apiece.
While hockey's not nearly a big a draw as basketball, NBC Sports moved up to sixth place among cable networks last week with its coverage of the NHL playoffs. Its biggest primetime game was Thursday's Detroit-Chicago matchup (0.7/2 in 18-49, 1.76m).
VH1′s "Love & Hip Hop Atlanta" was the week's No. 1 cable entertainment telecast in adults 18-49 (1.6/5), while Animal Planet's "Mermaids: The New Evidence" (1.4/4, 3.64m) was tops in adults 25-54 (1.6/4) and also drew the network's largest-ever overall audience.
HBO's Sunday premiere of "Behind the Candelabra" (0.7/2 in 18-49, 2.39m) became the premium cabler's most-watched original movie in nine years, with a same-night repeat adding another 1.1 million.
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