Basketball on CBS, 'Dancing' on ABC win the night

Monday’s primetime action was dominated by a pair of live telecasts, with ABC rolling early behind ”Dancing With the Stars” and CBS dominating later in the evening with the men’s NCAA basketball championship game.

Preliminary estimates from Nielsen are murky for the hoops action on CBS, but Connecticut’s victory over Butler averaged a 6.7 rating/16 share in adults 18-49 and 18.7 million viewers overall on the CBS stations from 9:30 to 11 p.m. These numbers are subject to significant revision since they don’t include the end of the game or incorporate viewing in the West. It does appear that this year’s game could be down by 10% or more vs. last year’s thrilling Duke-Butler title game, but should out-rate both 2009 and 2008.

Elsewhere, ABC was the top non-sports network in demos and figures to win the night in total viewers, led by ”Dancing With the Stars” (4.6/12 in 18-49, 21.4 million viewers overall). Though down week to week, this reps the largest audience to date for the hoofing hit opposite the college basketball championship game. Closing out the night, drama ”Castle” (2.9/7 in 18-49, 11.7 million viewers overall) was also down vs. recent weeks but should stand as the No. 1 non-sports show in the hour.

Fox had a quiet night with encores of ”House” (1.4/4 in 18-49, 4.4 million viewers overall) and ”The Chicago Code” (1.2/3 in 18-49, 3.9 million viewers overall), and NBC fared even worse with its lineup of a repeat ”Chuck” (0.6/2 in 18-49, 2.5 million viewers overall) followed by original episodes of ”The Event” (1.2/3 in 18-49, 3.9 million viewers overall) and ”Harry’s Law” (1.3/3 in 18-49, 7.4 million viewers overall). Though ”Harry’s Law” ended its run with its lowest scores, it’s the network’s top new drama and considered a reasonably good bet to return next season.

Univision moved up to third place among young adults behind firstrun dramas ”Eva Luna” (1.6/5 in 18-49, 4.4 million viewers overall) and ”Teresa” (1.8/4 in 18-49, 4.3 million viewers overall).

Preliminary 18-49 averages for the night: CBS, 5.0/13; ABC, 4.0/10; Univision, 1.6/4; Fox, 1.3/3; NBC, 1.1/3; CW, 0.3/1.

In total viewers: ABC, 18.2 million; CBS, 14.4 million; NBC, 4.6 million; Fox, 4.2 million; Univision, 4.1 million; CW, 0.8 million.

Follow @Variety on Twitter for breaking news, reviews and more