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LeBron James brings TNT plenty of viewers

December 3, 2010 | 11:17 am

Lebron_300 Not surprisingly, TNT had a lot of people watching LeBron James' heavily hyped return to Cleveland on Thursday night as his Miami Heat beat the Cavaliers 118-90.

The network had 7,052,000 million total viewers and 4,867,000 million households for a 5.0 overnight rating, according to Nielsen Media Research. That is the network's second-highest overnight rating of the NBA season. Only the Boston Celtics-Miami Heat game on opening night was higher with a 5.6 rating.

Viewership for Thursday's game peaked in the first 30 minutes and overall beat out the NFL Network's coverage of the Philadelphia Eagles-Houston Texans game, which got a 4.1, although TNT is in significantly more homes than the NFL Network.

Through the first 14 games of the season, ratings are up for TNT's coverage of the NBA. Here is what the network is averaging over last year through the same period, according to TNT.   

  • +45% total viewers (2,846,000 versus 1,965,000)
  • +41% households (2,094,000 versus 1,488,000)
  • +41% men age 18-34 (686,000 versus 487,000)
  • +46% men age 18-49 (1,151,000 versus 789,000)

--Debbie Goffa

Photo: LeBron James performs his pregame ritual in front of Cleveland fans. Credit: Gregory Shamus / Getty Images