'60 Minutes,' 'Race' help network win night

The conclusion of Sunday’s men’s basketball tournament action combined with “60 Minutes” and “Amazing Race” to lift CBS to a ratings victory in key demos on a night when ABC didn’t air original episodes of its hit dramas.

Due to the live basketball, ratings for CBS programming on the night are subject to significant revision when the nationals are released Tuesday, but the Eye won both the 7 o’clock and 8 o’clock hours, according to preliminary affiliate-based estimtes from Nielsen. Hoops action ran spilled about 18 minutes into primetime, and the net opted to delay the start of all of its programs on the night.

From 7 to 8, basketball and “60 Minutes” averaged a 3.3 rating/10 share in adults 18-49 and 13.4 million viewers overall, while “60 Minutes” and “Amazing Race” combined in the 8 p.m. hour for a 3.8/10 in 18-49 and 13.0 million viewers overall. “Race” and “Cold Case” teamed in the 9 p.m. hour for a 2.8/7 in 18-49 and 11.7 million viewers overall, and “Case” and “The Unit” combined for a 2.5/6 in 18-49 and 10.3 million viewers overall from 10 to 11.

NBC also got a boost from sports, with the conclusion of golf airing well into the 7 o’clock hour in much of the country. For the rest of the night, “Kings” (1.3/3 in 18-49, 4.4 million viewers overall) was on par with its performance of the previous week at 8 p.m., while “Celebrity Apprentice” was up a bit (3.2/8 in 18-49, 8.5 million viewers overall), growing with each half-hour and dominating from 10 to 11.

Fox’s comedy block was on the high side, starting with an original “The Simpsons” at 8 (3.1/9 in 18-49, 6.6 million viewers overall) and peaking at 9 with “Family Guy” (4.2/10 in 18-49, 8.2 million viewers overall), sandwiched by a special “Simpsons” repeat at 8:30 p.m. (3.1/8 in 18-49, 6.5 million viewers overall). Closing out the night for Fox, “American Dad” (3.0/7 in 18-49, 6.0 million viewers overall) was up a tick week to week.

ABC did well with its unscripted combo of “America’s Funniest Home Videos” (2.3/7 in 18-49, 8.1 million viewers overall) and “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” (3.6/9 in 18-49, 10.8 million viewers overall), with the latter prevailing from 8 to 10 p.m. with a two-hour installment. The net then fell off at 10 p.m. with a special “Desperate Housewives” repeat (2.1/5 in 18-49, 6.1 million viewers overall).

Preliminary 18-49 averages for the night: CBS, 3.1/8; ABC, 2.8/7; Fox, 2.6/7; NBC, 2.5/7; CW, 0.4/1.

In total viewers: CBS, 12.1 million; ABC, 9.0 million; NBC, 7.7 million; Fox, 5.4 million; CW, 1.1 million.

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