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Summer's best night of TV

By Alan Pergament

Did you see "The Game" Tuesday night?

Did you see Cher on "The Voice"?

Those were the questions on Watercooler Wednesday after what surely is going to be the biggest local TV night of the summer even if it isn't officially the summer quite yet.

The Miami Heat’s 103-100 overtime victory over the San Antonio Spurs Tuesday night -- labeled "The Great Escape" in one newspaper headline and being called the greatest NBA game ever by some experts with short memories -- is sure to drive ratings for tonight’s game 7 of the NBA Finals on
Channel 7.

A WNY sports fan had to feel for San Antonio since the game had a Buffalo-like ending.

In a way, we suffered with Spurs fans since ESPN ran a feature Wednesday of teams that had titles within their grasp that featured Scott Norwood's heart-breaking, missed field goal in the Bills' Super Bowl XXV loss to the New York Giants.

The Heat-Spurs game -- which had the potential to be the series' deciding game -- had by far the largest NBA audience in Western New York this season and was a huge national hit.  

Only one of two tight games in the first six games of the series, the Tuesday game averaged a 10.5 rating overall on Channel 7. It had a 9.5 rating on Channel 7 until 11:30 p.m. and then rocketed to a 13.6 for the heroics in the final 45 minutes when the Heat's Ray Allen hit a game-tying, three-point shot at the regulation buzzer and made a key, disputed defensive play at the end of overtime to preserve the victory as well as the legacy of Heat star LeBron James.



Danielle Bradbery: "Voice" winner


I say disputed because ABC analyst Jeff Van Gundy thought that the Spurs' Manu Ginobili was fouled by Allen on what could have been a game-leading drive to the basket. After looking at the replay I thought it was a no-call considering all the physical play that had gone on before that.

I wish ABC had gone to its referee expert, Steve Javie, after that non-call to hear what he had to say about a decision that essentially decided a game in which the Spurs' Tim Duncan looked like he discovered the Fountain of Youth in the first half.  

In any event, despite receiving amazing local ratings for NBA games around here, "The Game" wasn’t even the top-rated program of Tuesday night. That honor goes to the season finale of "The Voice" won by some 16-year-old blonde singer who was upstaged by Cher’s latest Fountain of Youth appearance.

At least I think it was Cher. She looked an awful lot like Miami Heat center Chris Andersen, a/k/a as Birdman.

"The Voice," which had the benefit of a strong (12.8 rating) lead-in from the sanitized Howard Stern-led "America’s Got Talent," averaged  a 14.1 rating over two-hours on Channel 2 and ended with a 15.0 rating at 10:45 when the pretty blonde (Danielle Bradbery) was named the winner. (Come on, you didn’t expect the two brothers or the woman with glasses and the rhythmic name to win, did you?)

The victory by "The Voice" deserved an asterisk. The NBA game had much better national demographics that please advertisers.

Broadcast network programs rarely get ratings in the summer like “AGT,” “The Voice,” and “The Game” received Tuesday night.

So I hope you enjoyed the night because we are unlikely to see another game -- or another night -- like it on TV this summer.

This Just In: The Chicago Blackhawks' 6-5 overtime victory over the Boston Bruins in game 4 of the Stanley Cup Finals had an 8.7 rating on Channel 2 Wednesday night. That's about 20 percent lower than the rating for Tuesday's Game 6 of the NBA Finals here, which is further evidence that this is a bigger basketball town than the area is given credit for by radio and TV sports departments.



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