The return of “Roseanne” did not stop CBS from being the most-watched network for the fourth consecutive week and 11th time in the 27-week-old prime-time television season, according to live-plus-same-day figures released by Nielsen Tuesday.
With “The Big Bang Theory,” “NCIS” and “Young Sheldon” finishing second through fourth behind “Roseanne,” CBS averaged 6.91 million viewers for its prime-time programming between March 26 and Sunday.
ABC was second for the week, averaging 5.87 million viewers. NBC was third, averaging 5.43 million viewers. CBS, ABC and NBC all aired 22 hours of prime-time programming.
Fox finished fourth among the major broadcast networks for the 10th consecutive week, averaging 2.58 million viewers for its 15 hours of prime-time programming. Its most-watched program was the spring premiere of the hip-hop drama “Empire” which averaged 6.22 million viewers, 30th overall.
The first original episode of “Roseanne” since 1997 drew the largest audience for a comedy since the 2014 post-Super Bowl episode of Fox’s “New Girl,” 18.453 million viewers.
The audience was also the largest for a regularly scheduled scripted television program this season.
Another 6.59 million viewers watched within three days of the “Roseanne’s” original airing, the largest gain for any program. The previous record was 5.93 million for the 2014 premiere of the ABC drama, “How to Get Away With Murder.”
“Roseanne” had the largest viewership among the young adult viewers ABC targets for a Tuesday entertainment program since the May 24, 2011 episode of “American Idol,” averaging 6.646 million viewers between the ages of 18 and 49.
“Roseanne” helped ABC to its third victory in five weeks among viewers ages 18 to 49, a group also targeted by NBC and Fox.
The premiere of the comedy “Splitting Up Together,” which followed began a half-hour after “Roseanne” ended, averaged 6.96 million viewers, the most for a Tuesday premiere of an ABC comedy since the Sept. 22, 2015, premiere of “The Muppets,” which ran for one season.
“Splitting Up Together” was second in its 9:30-10 p.m. time slot and 23rd for the week. It retained 81 percent of the 8.588-million audience of “black-ish” that preceded it.
The week’s other premiere on the four major broadcast networks, the ABC comedy “Alex, Inc.” was fourth in its 8:30-9 p.m. Wednesday time slot and 46th for the week, averaging 4.601 million viewers. It retained 84 percent of the 5.49-million audience of “The Goldbergs” that preceded it.
TBS’ coverage of Saturday’s Kansas-Villanova men’s Final Four game was the week’s most-watched prime-time cable program, averaging 10.695 million viewers, fifth overall.
NCAA tournament coverage made TBS the most-watched cable network for the second consecutive week, averaging 2.465 million viewers.
Fox News Channel averaged 2.025 million viewers to finish second for the second consecutive week after finishing first for four consecutive weeks. MSNBC averaged 1.685 million viewers to finish third for the second consecutive week after four consecutive second-place finishes and nine in the previous 10 weeks.
The most-watched Spanish-language prime-time program was UniMas’s coverage of the Mexico-Croatia exhibition men’s soccer game that averaged 2.053 million viewers, 72nd among broadcast programs. Its overall place was not immediately available.
Univision was the most-watched Spanish-language network for the 21st consecutive week, averaging 1.5 million viewers. Telemundo averaged 1.07 million viewers to finish second for the 21st consecutive week after four consecutive first-place finishes. UniMas was third, averaging 730,000 viewers, followed by 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 29th of past 30, averaging 8.32 million viewers.
The “NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt” was second, averaging 7.954 million viewers.
The “CBS Evening News” averaged 6.144 million viewers. It has finished third each week since the week of Sept. 25-29, 2006.
The week’s 10 most-watched prime-time programs were ABC’s “Roseanne”; CBS’ “The Big Bang Theory,” “NCIS” and “Young Sheldon”; TBS’ coverage of the Kansas-Villanova NCAA tournament national semifinal; CBS’ “Bull”; the Monday episode of NBC’s “The Voice”; TBS’ 24-minute “bridge show” between the two national semifinals; NBC’s “Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert”; and ABC’s “The Good Doctor.”