Prime-time coverage of the opening week of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament lifted TBS to second among cable networks, four spots higher than the previous week, according to live-plus-same-day figures released Tuesday by Nielsen.
TBS averaged 1.884 million viewers for its prime-time programming between March 15 and Sunday which included four nights of tournament coverage. Its viewership was up 46.6% from its 1.006 million average the previous week.
TNT, which had three nights of tournament coverage, was fourth, averaging 1.41 million viewers, a 98.3% increase from the previous week when it averaged 711,000 viewers to finish 13th.
Fox News Channel was the most-watched cable channel in prime time for the eighth consecutive week, averaging 2.233 million viewers, 8.7% less than its 2.445 million average the previous week.
MSNBC dropped to third after seven consecutive second-place finishes, averaging 1.654 million viewers, 10.3% less than its 1.843 million average the previous week.
TBS’ coverage of Oregon State’s 80-70 upset of Oklahoma State Sunday was the week’s most-watched cable program, averaging 3.59 million viewers, 28th overall.
The cable Top 20 consisted of nine programs on Fox News Channel; five broadcasts of the MSNBC news and opinion program “The Rachel Maddow Show”; four NCAA tournament games on TBS, and one program each on The History Channel (“The Curse of Oak Island”) and TLC (“90 Day Fiance”).
The CBS action drama “NCIS” was the most-watched prime-time program for the second consecutive week and fourth time in eight weeks, averaging 9.985 million viewers, 2.1% higher than its 9.779 million average the previous week.
CBS also had the week’s second- and third-most watched programs. “FBI,” which followed “NCIS,” averaged 8.077 million viewers, while “60 Minutes” was third, averaging 7.892 million viewers.
Although CBS aired a rerun of the season’s most-watched comedy “Young Sheldon” it still had the week’s most-watched comedy, “The Neighborhood,” 12th for the week averaging 5.392 million viewers.
“FBI: Most Wanted,” which followed “FBI” was the most-watched program beginning at 10 p.m. for the second consecutive week, averaging a season-high 6.262 million viewers, seventh for the week.
NBC had each of the three most-watched non-CBS programs, topped by the Monday edition of “The Voice” which averaged 7.847 million viewers, fourth for the week.
CBS finished first in the network race for the ninth consecutive week and 11th time in the 26-week-old 2020-21 television season, averaging 4.48 million viewers.
The finish behind CBS was identical to the previous week. NBC averaged 3.63 million viewers to finish second and ABC averaged 3.43 million viewers to finish third.
Fox was fourth for the eighth consecutive week, averaging 1.98 million viewers for its 15 hours, seven minutes of programming. The CW again was fifth among the five major English-language broadcast networks, averaging 700,000 viewers for its 12 hours.
CBS, NBC and ABC each aired 22 hours of prime-time programming for the week.
The two-hour season finale of “The Bachelor” was ABC’s most-watched program, averaging 6.104 million viewers, ninth for the week.
Fox’s most-watched program was “The Masked Singer,” 13th for the week averaging 5.128 million viewers. Fox aired a rerun of the procedural drama “9-1-1,” its most-watched program each of the previous eight weeks.
The crime drama “Walker” was The CW’s most-watched program for the second consecutive week, averaging 1.45 million viewers, putting it 86th among broadcast programs. Its overall rank was not available.
The only premiere on the five major English-language broadcast networks, Fox’s reboot of “America’s Most-Wanted” was 71st among the week’s broadcast and cable programs, averaging 2.254 million viewers.
For the fourth consecutive week and 10th time in 14 weeks, an episode of the Univision telenovela “Vencer el desamor” was the most-watched Spanish-language program, with the Tuesday episode averaging 1.931 million viewers, 59st among broadcast programs. Its overall rank was not available.
Univision was the most-watched Spanish-language network for the 68th consecutive week and 70th time in 71 weeks, averaging 1.39 million viewers. Telemundo was second, averaging 1.07 million viewers followed by UniMas (590,000), Estrella TV (120,000) and Azteca America (50,000).
ABC’s “World News Tonight with David Muir” was the most-watched network nightly newscast for the 68th consecutive week, the 119th time in 120 weeks and the 171th time in 173 weeks, averaging 8.684 million viewers.
“NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt” was second, averaging 7.104 million viewers, followed by the “CBS Evening News with Norah O’Donnell,” which averaged 5.036 million viewers.
The week’s 10 most-watched prime-time programs were CBS’ “NCIS,” “FBI” and “60 Minutes”; NBC’s two-hour Monday edition of “The Voice,” “Chicago Fire” and “Chicago Med”; CBS’ “FBI: Most Wanted”; NBC’s “Chicago P.D.”; and ABC’s “The Bachelor” and “The Bachelor: After the Final Rose.”