CBS' ratings for Final 4 lag behind last year

Ratings for CBS’ coverage of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament have fallen slightly behind last year’s pace after Saturday’s semifinals failed to keep up with year-ago games.

According to preliminary national data from Nielsen, CBS drew an 8.8 household rating for Saturday’s first semifinal (Michigan State-Wisconsin), down 4% from last year’s game between Arizona and Connecticut (9.2).

The second game (Florida-North Carolina), which ran in primetime in most of the country, drew a 10.2, down 6% from last year’s Duke-Michigan State con-test (10.9). In the Raleigh-Durham, N.C., market, this year’s game did a 27.7/42.

For the tournament, the Eye net is averaging a 6.2, down 3% from last year’s 6.4.

Matchup encouraging

LeslieAnne Wade, VP of communications at CBS, said Monday that the network was “very encouraged with the matchup” of Florida and Michigan State for the championship game, “especially considering the quality of play (up-tempo) and regional nature of the teams.”

Elsewhere, the WB premiered its reconfigured Sunday lineup to ho-hum ratings. Reliable national data will not be available from Nielsen until today, but overnights for Sunday give the new Dick Wolf drama “D.C.” a 2.4 rating in the 8 p.m. hour. That figures to translate into roughly what the network had been averaging this season with “Felicity.”

At 9 p.m., second-year laffer “Movie Stars” drew a 2.4 rating for its season premiere, followed by “Zoe,” which slipped to a 2.1 in its new timeslot. The weblet had been airing “Jack & Jill” in the hour.

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