The final game of Mike Krzyzewski’s 42-season career as Duke’s men’s basketball coach drew the largest audience for an NCAA national semifinal game since 2017, according to live-plus-same-day figures released by Nielsen Tuesday.
The TBS, TNT and truTV simulcast of the Blue Devils’ 81-77 loss to North Carolina on Saturday averaged 17.663 million viewers, the most for a national semifinal since North Carolina’s 77-76 victory over Oregon on April 1, 2017 averaged 18.825 million viewers on CBS.
The audience was the largest for a prime-time program since NBC’s post-Super Bowl Winter Olympics coverage Feb. 13 averaged 21.277 million viewers.
The 25-minute “bridge” show preceding the Duke-North Carolina game was second among prime-time programs between March 28 and Sunday, averaging 12.299 million viewers.
CBS’ coverage of the Grammy Awards drew the second-smallest audience on record, 9.587 million viewers. Viewership for Sunday’s ceremony in Las Vegas was 3.1% higher than last year’s record-low 9.297 million.
The only Grammy ceremonies on record to average fewer than 17 million viewers have come in the past two years. Figures are available dating back to 1977. The record audience for the Grammys was in 1984, when it averaged 51.671 million when Michael Jackson won a record eight awards.
CBS had each of the 11 most-watched non-sports programs to finish first for the sixth time in the six weeks following the conclusion of NBC’s coverage of the Winter Olympics and 12th time in the 28-week-old 2021-22 television season, averaging 5.34 million viewers.
ABC was second for the sixth consecutive week, averaging 3.17 million viewers. Its most-watched programs were the Monday and Sunday editions of “American Idol,” 14th and 20th for the week, averaging 5.657 million and 4.892 million viewers.
NBC was third among the broadcast networks and fourth overall, also trailing Fox News Channel, averaging 2.35 million viewers. With NBC airing reruns of its three “Chicago” series for the second consecutive week, its most-watched program for the second consecutive week was the family drama “This Is Us,” 27th for the week, averaging 4.211 million viewers.
CBS, ABC, NBC, TBS and Fox News Channel all aired 22 hours of prime-time programming.
Fox averaged 2.12 million viewers for its 15 hours of prime-time programming, topped for the second consecutive week by the procedural drama “9-1-1,” 19th for the week averaging 4.967 million viewers.
The CW averaged 460,000 for its 14 hours of programming. The crime drama “Walker” was its most-watched program for the eighth time in its 12 episodes this season, averaging 961,000 viewers for its first original episode since March 10, 121st among broadcast programs. Its overall rank was not available.
The only premiere on the five major English-language broadcast networks, the CBS comedy “How We Roll” was first in its 9:30-10 p.m. Thursday time slot and 26th for the week, averaging 4.219 million viewers, retaining 67.7% of the audience of “Ghosts” which preceded it. “Ghosts” was ninth for the week, averaging 6.232 million viewers.
The 20 most watched prime-time programs consisted 15 CBS programs — 11 scripted programs, the news magazine “60 Minutes,” the alternative series “Survivor,” the Grammys and the final 38 minutes of the Grammys which Nielsen considers a separate program because it aired without commercials — the Duke-North Carolina NCAA tournament game and the 25-minute “bridge” show preceding it, two episodes of the ABC singing competition “American Idol” and Fox’s “9-1-1.”
Fox News Channel returned to the top of the cable ratings after a one-week absence, averaging 2.495 million viewers, its 10th first-place finish in 11 weeks. TBS was second, averaging 1.991 million viewers and ESPN third, averaging 1.672 million.
The cable top 20 consisted of the Duke-North Carolina basketball game and the bridge show preceding it; two NCAA women’s basketball tournament games on ESPN; 14 Fox News Channel political talk shows — five broadcasts each of “Tucker Carlson Tonight” and “Hannity” and four of “The Ingraham Angle”; History’s long-running chronicle of a search for treasure on a Canadian island, “The Curse of Oak Island”; and the TLC series about couples who have built a relationship online but not met in person, “90 Day FiancÃ©: Before the 90 Days.”
The most-watched Spanish-language program was Univision’s coverage of Wednesday’s Mexico-El Salvador World Cup qualifier, which was 66th overall, averaging 2.369 million viewers.
Univision was the most-watched Spanish-language network for the 122nd consecutive week and 124th time in 125 weeks, averaging 1.51 million viewers. Telemundo was second, averaging 920,000 viewers, followed by UniMas (490,000), Estrella TV (120,000) and Azteca America (40,000).
ABC’s “World News Tonight with David Muir” was the most-watched nightly newscast for the 121st time in 122 weeks and 173rd time in 175 weeks, averaging 8.355 million viewers. “NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt” was second, averaging 6.999 million.
The “CBS Evening News with Norah O’Donnell” was third, averaging 4.965 million.
The week’s 10 most-watched prime-time programs were Duke-North Carolina tournament game and the 25-minute bridge show preceding it; CBS’ coverage of the Grammy Awards which was considered two programs; and CBS’ “FBI,” “Young Sheldon”; “NCIS”; “60 Minutes Presents”; “Ghosts”; and “FBI International.”