It was all about basketball in the latest TV ratings report.
The week’s most-watched program was CBS’ coverage of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament final that averaged 23.008 million viewers.
CBS had each of the week’s six most-watched programs to finish first in the prime-time ratings race for the fifth consecutive week and 16th time in the 29-week-old season, according to live-plus-same day figures released by Nielsen.
CBS averaged 9.1 million viewers for its prime-time programming between April 3 and Sunday. NBC was second, averaging 5.36 million, followed by ABC, which averaged 4.41 million. Fox was fourth among the broadcast networks and fifth overall, averaging 2.48 million.
The order of finish had been identical for five consecutive weeks.
While basketball topped the ratings, not everything was good news. Viewership for North Carolina’s 71-65 victory over Gonzaga was down 18.6 percent from the 28.263 million average when the final last aired on CBS in 2015 and Duke defeated Wisconsin, 68-63, in the most-watched final since 1997.
The 2016 final, the first to be shown on cable, averaged 13.85 million viewers, the smallest audience among available records which date back to 1975.
“NCIS” was the week’s most-watched entertainment program, averaging 13.832 million viewers, third overall behind the North Carolina-Gonzaga game and its eight-minute pre-tipoff show, which averaged 14.078 million viewers. CBS also benefited from the hourlong runover of its coverage of the final round of golf’s Masters Tournament into primetime Sunday which averaged 15.11 million viewers. The runover is not considered a separate program, but is included in the weekly average.
The week’s only non-CBS programs among the eight to average more than 10 million viewers ran opposite each other — ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars,” seventh for the week averaging 10.469 million viewers, and the Monday edition of the NBC singing competition “The Voice,” which averaged 10.036 million.
ABC’s “The Toy Box” was the most-watched of the three alternative series that premiered on Friday, finishing second in its 8-9 p.m. time slot and 49th for the week, averaging 4.09 million viewers. NBC’s “First Dates” was fourth in the 8-9 p.m. time slot and 56th for the week, averaging 3.775 million.
Fox’s “You The Jury” was 10th in the 9-10 p.m. time slot — including trailing four cable programs and two Spanish-language programs — and 226th overall, averaging 1.544 million viewers. Fox News Channel was the most-watched cable network for the second consecutive week and 11th time in 12 weeks, averaging 2.781 million viewers. MSNBC was second for the second consecutive week, averaging 1.604 million and USA third, averaging 1.562 million.
Fox News Channel had each of the week’s seven most-watched cable programs, topped by two programs that aired as news broke of the U.S. missile attack on Syria Thursday. “Hannity” averaged 4.879 million viewers from 10:11-10:59 p.m. Eastern time, 36th overall, and “Shepard Smith Reporting” 4.553 million from 9:17-10:10 p.m., 43rd overall. Each of the next five most-watched prime-time cable programs were episodes of “The O’Reilly Factor.”
The week’s most-watched Spanish-language prime-time program was the Monday episode of the Telemundo telenovela “El Chema,” which averaged 2.565 million viewers, 93rd overall.
Longtime leader Univision averaged 1.58 million viewers to be the most- watched Spanish-language network for the 22nd consecutive week and 24th time in 25 weeks.
Telemundo was second, averaging 1.36 million viewers, followed by UniMas, which averaged 790,000 viewers, Estrella TV, which averaged 260,000, and Azteca America, which averaged 110,000.
ABC’s “World News Tonight with David Muir” edged the “NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt” 7.93 million viewers-7.91 million to be the most- watched nightly network newscast for the fifth time in six weeks.
The “CBS Evening News” was third, as it has been throughout Scott Pelley’s more than five years as anchor, averaging 6.249 million viewers.
The week’s 10 most-watched prime-time programs were CBS’ coverage of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament final and its eight-minute pre-tipoff show, “NCIS,” “The Big Bang Theory,” “60 Minutes” and “Bull”; ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars”; the Monday episode of NBC’s “The Voice”; CBS’ “Blue Bloods” and the Tuesday episode of “The Voice.”
—City News Service