'Once' top scripted show; CBS wins with hoops overrun

CBS had some heat early in the evening thanks to college basketball, but the most solid performer on Sunday was ABC, whose three scripted hours led their timeslots among young adults. Overall, it was a quiet night as Fox aired some repeats and NBC continues to have a tough time early in the evening.

According to preliminary national estimates from Nielsen, ABC started modestly with ”America’s Funniest Home Videos” (1.2/4 in 18-49, 6.1 million viewers overall) before surging at 8 p.m. with ”Once Upon a Time” (2.8/8 in 18-49, 8.7 million viewers overall), which was on par with last week and stood as Sunday’s top-rated program in adults 18-49. The net also won in the demo from 9 to 11 p.m. with ”Desperate Housewives” (2.6/7 in 18-49, 8.7 million viewers overall) and ”GCB” (2.2/6 in 18-49, 6.5 million viewers overall), with the latter up a bit from last week.

Numbers for CBS are murky as NCAA basketball extended about 19 minutes into primetime and the net opted to start its three entertainment series late on the night following ”60 Minutes.” From 7:30 to 8:30 p.m., an hour with mostly ”60 Minutes” in most of the country, the net’s stations averaged a 2.5 rating/8 share in adults 18-49 and 10.9 million viewers overall. It was followed by ”The Amazing Race” (2.3/6 in 18-49, 9.3 million viewers overall from 8:30 to 9:30), ”The Good Wife” (1.8/5 in 18-49, 9.5 million viewers overall) and ”CSI: Miami” (2.0/5 in 18-49, 8.9 million viewers overall for the 10:30 p.m. half-hour). Thanks to the push it got from hoops action, the net is expected to win the night in both 18-49 and 25-54 while also prevailing in total viewers.

Fox aired a lineup alternating with repeats and originals, starting in primetime’s opening hour with an encore ”The Simpsons” (1.0/3 in 18-49, 2.3 million viewers overall) and an original ”The Cleveland Show” (1.5/5 in 18-49, 3.1 million viewers overall). A repeat ”Simpsons” in its regular 8 o’clock slot (1.9/6 in 18-49, 4.1 million viewers overall) was followed by a repeat ”Bob’s Burgers” (2.0/5 in 8-49, 4.0 million viewers overall), which retained nearly all of its demo score from last week when it was sandwiched by originals. In Fox’s final hour, a repeat ”Family Guy” (2.1/5 in 18-49, 4.6 million viewers overall) and an encore ”American Dad” (2.0/5 in 18-49, 4.3 million viewers overall) put up similar numbers.

NBC again struggled to get much going with adults under 50 in the opening hours of primetime Sunday with ”Dateline” (1.0/3 in 18-49, 5.6 million viewers overall) and ”Harry’s Law” (0.8/2 in 18-49, 8.0 million viewers overall). The net picked up in the second half of the night with its two-hour ”Celebrity Apprentice” (1.8/5 in 18-49, 6.0 million viewers overall), which won its final half-hour in key demos.

Preliminary 18-49 averages for the night: CBS, 2.3/6; ABC, 2.2/6; Fox, 1.7/5; NBC, 1.4/4; Univision, 1.0/3.

In total viewers: CBS, 10.2 million; ABC, 7.5 million; NBC, 6.4 million; Fox, 3.7 million; Univision, 2.9 million.

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