“60 Minutes” received another boost from CBS’ coverage of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament to be the most-watched prime-time series for the second consecutive week, according to live-plus-same-day figures released Tuesday by Nielsen.
The news magazine averaged 12.590 million viewers to be the most-watched prime-time program between March 25 and Sunday. The 17-minute runover of CBS’ coverage of Michigan State’s 68-67 victory over Duke in the East Regional final into prime time preceding “60 Minutes” in the Eastern and Central time zones averaged 21.99 million viewers.
The runover is not considered a separate program but is included in the weekly average.
The CBS procedural drama “NCIS” was second for the week, averaging 12.188 million viewers, followed by two NCAA tournament games.
TBS’ coverage of Virginia’s 80-75 victory over Purdue in Saturday’s South Regional final was third for the week and the most-watched cable program, averaging 10.486 million viewers, an 8 percent increase over the 9.713-million average for the corresponding game one year ago, Michigan’s 58-54 victory over Florida State in the West Regional final.
CBS’ coverage of Duke’s 75-73 victory over Virginia Tech in Friday’s second East Regional semifinal was fourth for the week, averaging 10.072 million viewers, a 29.2 percent increase over the 7.795 million average for the corresponding game one year ago, Duke’s 69-65 victory over Syracuse in a Midwest Regional semifinal.
Both of the week’s premieres on the four major broadcast networks drew a lackluster response from viewers.
The CBS alternative series, “Million Dollar Mile,” was a distant second in its 9 p.m. time slot March 27, averaging 3.9 million viewers, 47th for the week. It retained 50.2 percent of the 7.761-million audience for “Survivor” preceding it.
The NBC comedy “Abby’s,” was third in its 9:30 p.m. Thursday time slot and 85th for the week, averaging 2.598 million viewers. It retained 79.9 percent of the 3.25-million audience for “Will & Grace” that preceded it.
CBS had four of the week’s five most-watched programs to finish first in the network race for the 10th time in 11 weeks and 15th time in the 27-week-old 2018-19 season, averaging 6.57 million viewers.
NBC was averaged 4.65 million viewers to finish second after three consecutive third-place finishes. Its most-watched program was “The Voice,” sixth for the week, averaging 9.011 million.
ABC was third after three consecutive second-place finishes, averaging 4.37 million viewers. Its most-watched program was the medical drama “Grey’s Anatomy,” 14th for the week, averaging 7.376 million viewers.
Fox averaged 2.49 million viewers for its 15 hours of programming to finish fourth for the 11th consecutive week. The procedural drama “9-1-1” was its most-watched program for the second consecutive week, averaging 5.665 million, 26th for the week.
ABC, CBS and NBC each broadcast 22 hours of prime-time programming for ratings purposes.
NCAA men’s basketball tournament coverage enabled TBS to end Fox News Channel’s 10-week streak as the most-watched cable network, averaging 3.571 million viewers.
Fox News Channel was second, averaging 2.831 million, followed by MSNBC, which averaged 1.489 million.
“The Walking Dead,” averaged 5.019 million viewers, the least among the AMC horror series’ nine season finales. The previous low was 5.97 million for its first season finale in 2010.
The Univision talent show “Pequenos Gigantes” was the most-watched Spanish-language prime-time program, averaging 1.977 million viewers, 75th among broadcast programs. Its overall rank was not available.
Univision was the most-watched Spanish-language network for the 22nd consecutive week, averaging 1.39 million viewers. Telemundo finished second, averaging 1.11 million viewers, followed by UniMas, which averaged 450,000, Estrella TV, which averaged 260,000, and Azteca America, which averaged 70,000.
ABC’s “World News Tonight with David Muir” was the most-watched network nightly newscast for the 18th consecutive week and 69th time in the past 70 weeks, averaging 8.126 million viewers.
The “NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt” was second, averaging 7.671 million viewers.
The “CBS Evening News” averaged 5.422 million for its Monday through Thursday newscasts. It has finished third each week since the week of Sept. 25-29, 2006.
Figures provided by Nielsen for traditional viewership are only one measure of a program’s popularity because of increased viewing of programming on a streaming or delayed basis.
The week’s 10 most-watched prime-time programs were CBS’ “60 Minutes” and “NCIS”; TBS’ coverage of the Virginia-Purdue NCAA men’s basketball tournament game; CBS’ coverage of the Duke-Virginia Tech NCAA men’s basketball tournament game; CBS’ “FBI”; NBC’s “The Voice”; TBS’ 16-minute NCAA men’s basketball tournament “bridge show” between its game coverage Saturday; NBC’s “Chicago Fire”; CBS’ “God Friended Me”; and NBC’s “Chicago Med.”
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