Culminating with the top playoff series in cable history, TNT closed its Nielsen book on 2011 as the most-watched NBA postseason in cable history.
Last night's coverage of the Miami Heat's Eastern Conference finals series' clincher over the Chicago Bulls scored a 6.3 U.S. household rating and 10.4 million viewers, according to Nielsen data. That was almost a mirror image of TNT's average over the five-game series during which LeBron James, Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh and the rest of the Heat penned in NBA MVP Derrick Rose and his Bulls: a 6.2 rating and 8.6 million viewers. Those numbers surpassed the 5.4 rating and 6.14 million viewers for cable's previous conference record-holder, the 2009 Eastern Conference finals in which James's Cleveland Cavaliers lost to the Orlando Magic.
The Eastern Conference finals - under their current deal with the NBA, TNT and ESPN alternate the conference finals, season to season - put the cherry on top of what was the best regular-season in Turner's 27 years with the pro hoops league, surpassing the 1995-96 campaign, when Michael Jordan ruled the roost, and now its best playoffs. All told, TNT averaged a 3.5 rating, up 13% from the 3.1 mark in 2009 and 5.53 million viewers, a 29 advance from 4.71 million.