In a League of Their Own
Pro athletes are getting big TV ratings lately, just not for playing sports. In the “Dancing with the Stars” finale, Olympic champion short-track speed skater Apolo Anton Ohno and dance partner Julianne Hough edged out boxer Laila Ali and Maksim Chmerkovskiy to win the competition. Last year, former Dallas Cowboys running back Emmitt Smith won.
The “Dancing” finale was not only the most-watched program that week with 23 million total viewers (a 6.7 rating and 17 share), but the show drew a bigger audience than traditionally popular sports events like the NBA finals in June.
The final game of the San Antonio Spurs-Cleveland Cavaliers match-up, featuring basketball superstar LeBron James, scored a record low 6.2 rating and 11 share, according to Nielsen Media Research. The National Hockey League finals fared even worse, pulling in a dismal 1.6 rating and 3 share.
Athletes and reality TV aren’t always a sure-fire combo, however. “Shaq’s Big Challenge,” in which NBA star Shaquille O’Neal tries to help a group of obese Florida kids lose weight, averaged a 1.8 rating and a 6 share through the first week of July. Still, ABC says “Shaq” is an improvement over year-ago ratings for its Tuesday night time slot.