The return of original episodes of the “Chicago” franchise after a one-week absence helped NBC increase its weekly prime-time viewership 39.4% over the previous week.
“Chicago Med” was the most-watched scripted program between March 16 and Sunday and third overall, averaging 9.181 million viewers, its most since Feb. 6, 2019, according to live-plus-same-day figures released Tuesday by Nielsen.
“Chicago Fire,” which followed, was fourth for the week, averaging 9.024 million viewers, its most for a non-crossover episode since Dec. 8, 2015.
“Chicago PD,” was the week’s most-watched 10 p.m. program and ninth overall, averaging 7.51 million viewers, its most for a non-crossover episode since Feb. 13, 2019.
NBC was also helped by its singing competition “The Voice” drawing its largest audience for a Monday or Tuesday episode since March 11, 2019, averaging 9.889 million viewers, 13.2% more than the previous week.
“The Voice” was second for the week. It has been in the top four each of the four weeks of its spring season and first among alternative series.
NBC also had season highs for “Game of Games,” “Superstore,” “Will & Grace,” “The Blacklist” and “Dateline Mystery.”
With much of the nation under stay at home orders because of the coronavirus pandemic, prime-time viewership of the four major broadcast networks was up 5.9% over the previous week.
CBS, NBC, ABC and Fox averaged a combined 19.12 million viewers, up from 18.06 million the previous week.
Nearly all the increase came from NBC, which averaged 5.17 million viewers for the week to finish second after averaging 3.71 million the previous week.
Fox was the other major broadcast network to register an increase, averaging 3.2 million viewers for its 15 hours of programming, a 5.96% increase after averaging 3.02 million for its 15 hours, 12 minutes of programming the previous week.
Even with the increase, Fox finished fourth among the broadcast networks for the seventh time in the seven weeks following its Super Bowl LIV telecast.
“The Masked Singer” was Fox’s most-watched program for the sixth time since the week of its Super Bowl telecast, averaging 8.022 million viewers, fifth overall. Its viewership was up 10.7% from the 7.249-million average the previous week when it was 11th.
CBS viewership dropped 5.6% from the previous week from 6.17 million to 5.82 million, but it still finished first for the sixth consecutive week and 11th time in the 26-week-old 2019-20 season.
CBS aired reruns for its entire prime-time schedule Thursday and Friday and two hours Saturday in place of its planned coverage of the NCAA Division I men’s basketball tournament, which was canceled because of the coronavirus outbreak.
Despite airing reruns, “Hawaii Five-0” and “Blue Bloods” both won their time slots Friday as did the “Hawaii Five-0” rerun Saturday.
CBS had the week’s most-watched program, “60 Minutes,” which averaged 10.895 million viewers, its largest audience since Dec. 8. It was the week’s only prime-time program to average more than 10 million viewers.
The CBS news magazine has finished first two consecutive weeks and three of the past four. It was second the other week during that span.
CBS also had the week’s two most-watched comedies, “The Neighborhood,” 11th for the week, averaging 7.401 million viewers, its most since Feb. 4, 2019, and “Bob Hearts Abishola,” 18th for the week, averaging 6.895 million, the high for the first-year series.
CBS also got season highs from “Survivor,” “NCIS: Los Angeles” and “Bull.”
ABC was third, averaging 4.93 million viewers, 4.5% less than its 5.16 million-average the previous week when it aired four hours, five minutes of “Bachleor” programming, including the season finale.
“American Idol” was ABC’s most-watched program for the fifth time in the six weeks it has aired this season, averaging 7.692 million viewers, seventh for the week. Viewership was up 3% from its 7.471-million average the previous week when it finished 10th.
Cable programming also recorded increases. Viewership up of advertising-supported cable networks up 3% from 39.361 million to 40.56 million while viewership of premium pay services rose 5.9% from 2.013 million to 2.132 million.
Fox News Channel averaged 4.051 million viewers to be the most-watched cable network for the ninth consecutive week.
Viewership was up 14.3% over the previous week, when it averaged 3.544 million viewers, and 21.6% over the 3.175-million average the week of March 2-8, which included the Super Tuesday presidential primaries.
MSNBC was second for the fourth time in five weeks, averaging 2.42 million viewers, 5.5% more than its 2.302-million average the previous week and 18.1% more than the 2.049-million average the week of March 2-8.
CNN was third, averaging 2.146 million viewers, down 24.6% from the previous week when it aired a Democratic presidential debate and averaged 2.845 million viewers. CNN’s viewership was up 62% from the week of March 2-8 when it averaged 1.325 million viewers.
Fox News Channel had each of the 13 most-watched prime-time cable programs, topped by March 18 edition of the political talk show “Hannity,” which averaged 4.998 million viewers, 38th overall.
The combined audience of the three broadcast network nightly newscasts was up 31.5% from the previous week to 32.153 million from 24.46 million.
ABC’s “World News Tonight with David Muir” increased 26.4% to 12.545 million viewers from 9.923 million the previous week. It was the most-watched network nightly newscast for the 16th consecutive week, 67th time in 68 weeks and 119th time in 121 weeks.
“NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt” was up 41.9% to 12.006 million viewers, its largest audience since the week of Jan. 3, 2005, from 8.463 million. The “CBS Evening News” was up 4% to 6.074 million from 5.843 million.
The most-watched Spanish-language prime-time program was the Univision talent show “Pequenos Gigantes” which averaged 2.397 million viewers, 74th among broadcast programs. Its overall rank was not available.
Univision was the most-watched Spanish-language network for the 16th consecutive week and 18th time in 19 weeks, averaging 1.67 million viewers, 22.8% more than its 1.36 million-average the previous week.
Telemundo was second, averaging 1.2 million viewers, 10.1% more than its 1.09-million average the previous week. UniMas was third, averaging 690,000 viewers, 9.5% more than its 630,000-average the previous week.
Estrella TV averaged 210,000, 23.5% more than its 170,000 average the previous week. Azteca America averaged 60,000, unchanged from the previous week.
The week’s 10 most-watched prime-time programs were CBS’ “60 Minutes”; NBC’s “The Voice,” “Chicago Med” and “Chicago Fire”; Fox’s “The Masked Singer”; CBS’ “Survivor”; ABC’s “American Idol”; a rerun of CBS’ “NCIS”; NBC’s “Chicago PD”; and CBS’ “NCIS: Los Angeles.”