Basketball, reality shows lift CBS

Network edges Fox for week's ratings lead among young adults

In a tight battle between the season’s top two-rated networks, college basketball and the Sunday combo of “The Amazing Race” and “Undercover Boss” proved just enough for CBS to edge out “American Idol”-powered Fox for the week’s primetime demo lead.

ABC, meanwhile, got a spark from the return of “Dancing With the Stars” and the debut of “Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution” and moved ahead of NBC for the first time in three weeks — but the Peacock still holds the lead for the season’s bronze medal.

Overall, according to “live plus same day” Nielsen estimates for the March 22-28 frame, CBS led in adults 18-49 with a 3.2 rating/10 share, followed by Fox (3.1/9), ABC (2.5/7), NBC (2.0/6) and Univision (1.2/4).

CBS also prevailed over Fox in adults 25-54 (4.0/11 to 3.5/9) and total viewers (11.1 million to 8.9 million), while Fox held the advantage among the younger 12-34 crowd (2.4/8 to 2.2/8 for CBS).

At the Eye, college basketball won all 18 half-hours it aired from Thursday through Sunday, with Thursday’s late action — highlighted by Kansas State’s double-overtime victory over Xavier — leading the way (4.3/14 in 18-49, 11.32m).

The net’s Sunday lineup also got a big boost from the conclusion of the Duke-Baylor basketball game, which bled 30 minutes into overtime (averaging a 5.3/18 in 18-49 and nearly 18 million viewers overall). It was followed by above-average scores for “60 Minutes” (3.1/9 in 18-49, 14.49m), “Amazing Race” (3.9/10, 12.73m) and “Undercover Boss” (5.1/13, 16.72m).

This was the best 18-49 delivery in more than two years for “Race,” while rookie hit “Boss” logged its best demo score in four weeks and its largest overall aud since its post-Super Bowl premiere.

On Monday, CBS laffers “Two and a Half Men” (5.1/13 in 18-49, 14.46m) and “The Big Bang Theory” (5.2/13, 13.42m) were dinged only a bit by ABC’s “Dancing” and remained top-5 shows for the week.

Fox was primarily led by “American Idol,” which dominated both with Tuesday’s two-hour performance episode (8.4/23 in 18-49, 24.21m) and Wednesday’s results show (7.2/20, 21.44m) — again the week’s top two telecasts. For the season, “Idol” is tracking within 6% of last year’s pace in adults 18-49 (9.4 rating vs. 10.0) and within 5% in total viewers (25.3 million vs. 26.6 million).

Sunday saw “Family Guy” rise up to become the night’s top scripted program in 18-49 (3.8/9, 7.32m), but rookie lead-out “Sons of Tucson” again fell off sharply (2.0/5, 4.03m).

ABC welcomed back “Dancing With the Stars” (6.4/17 in 18-49, 24.19m), which matched or set record highs for a premiere in various categories (Daily Variety, March 24) and came within an eyelash of Fox’s “American Idol” as the week’s most watched program overall. It led into “Castle” (3.3/9 in 18-49, 12.21m), which scored its first victory to date over an original seg of CBS’ “CSI: Miami.”

The Alphabet also claimed the top scripted program in 18-49 on Tuesday with “Lost” (4.0/10, 9.31m), Wednesday with “Modern Family” (3.7/10, 9.18m) and Thursday with “Grey’s Anatomy” (3.7/10, 11.57m). And its debut of “Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution” was Friday’s top series (2.6/8, 7.47m), racking up the highest demo score for any entertainment series on the night this season (Daily Variety, March 29).

The Alphabet could use a boost from the return of “V” this week to close the gap with NBC, which still led ABC by nearly 7% in Nielsen’s “most current” 18-49 season averages through Sunday (2.87 to 2.69).

The Peacock, meanwhile, was repped in the top 20 last week by “The Office” (3.5/10 in 18-49, 7.28m) and “Law and Order: SVU” (3.3/10 in 18-49, 10.58m), with the latter hitting a season high. Also, rookie drama “Parenthood” was on the upswing (2.7/8, 7.01m) as Tuesday timeslot rival “The Good Wife” on CBS aired a repeat.

Net continues to hang in there too with solid reality perfs from the likes of “The Biggest Loser” (3.0/8 in 18-49, 8.12m), “Celebrity Apprentice” (2.8/7, 7.31m) and “The Marriage Ref” (2.5/7, 6.62m).

USA led the cable nets in 18-49, 25-54 and total viewers, but Nickelodeon claimed the week’s most-watched telecasts with Sunday’s “Kids’ Choice Awards” (7.64 million) and premiere of live-action series “Victorious” (5.70 million).

The top demo performers on cable were USA’s “WWE Raw” (1.9/6 in 18-49, 4.87m), Discovery’s “Life” (1.9/6, 5.29m) and Comedy Central’s “South Park” (1.8/6, 3.24m).

Also of note, Tuesday saw strong 10 p.m. perfs from FX’s “Justified” (1.4/4 in 18-49, 3.54m) and Oxygen’s “Bad Girls Club” (1.3/4, 2.62m). Former led all of television in men 18-34 (1.9/7), the latter in women 18-e4 (3.1/9).

And closing out the week Sunday, LMN drew its largest aud to date for an original movie (4.02 million for “Amish Grace”), and E! remained hot with “Kendra” (1.3/3 in 18-49, 2.34m).

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