Hoops Help CBS Top Rivals on

Strong overnight ratings for conclusions of AMC's 'Walking Dead,' History's 'The Bible'

CBS emerged the winner among the broadcast networks on Sunday, riding a college basketball overrun and “60 Minutes” to victory in key demos on a night that figured to produce some strong ratings for shows on cablers AMC and History.

ABC’s “Revenge,” one of only a few scripted originals offered up by the Big Four on Easter Sunday, flirted with a series low at 9 p.m. — but that’s not surprising given that it had a repeat lead-in and went up against the conclusions of “The Walking Dead” and miniseries “The Bible” as well as the return of “Game of Thrones” on HBO.

Preliminary total-viewer and demo estimates weren’t available Monday morning for cable’s Sunday biggies, but in Nielsen’s metered markets, AMC’s “The Walking Dead” scored a big 6.5 household rating/10 share, which should equate to record numbers for the show, whose previous peak came with its winter premiere episode on Feb. 10 (6.1 rating in adults 18-49, 12.3 million viewers overall).

At History, the fifth and concluding part of “The Bible” averaged a 6.3/10 in the overnights, in line with recent weeks and a bit below the 6.7/10 that it opened with on March 3 (translating to a 3.3 demo rating and 13.1 million viewers overall). And HBO’s “Game of Thrones,” which likely shares a lot of viewers with “The Walking Dead,” averaged a 2.4/4 in the overnights.

At the Big Four, a 41-minute overrun from the college basketball tournament game between Louisville and Duke and the beginning portion of “60 Minutes” averaged a dominant 4.2 rating/13 share in adults 18-49 and 15.7 million viewers overall) on the net’s stations from 7 to 8 p.m., with all of the Eye’s preliminary estimates subject to significant revision.

In the 8 o’clock hour, which was mostly “60 Minutes” and the start of “The Amazing Race” in much of the country, CBS averaged a 2.4/7 in 18-49 and 10.5 million viewers overall on its stations. From 9 to 10 p.m., the concluding 40 minutes of “The Amazing Race” and the start of “The Good Wife” did a 1.9/5 in the demo and 8.8 million viewers overall. And from 10 to 11 p.m., the final 40 minutes of “Good Wife” and the start of “The Mentalist” averaged a 1.3/3 in 18-49 and 7.7 million viewers overall.

No matter how the individual programs shake out in the nationals, it looks like CBS will stand as the Big Four leader in demos; it also should win the night overall in total viewers.

NBC was second in 18-49 among the broadcasters with a repeat of last Monday’s two-hour season premiere of “The Voice” (1.1/3 in 18-49, 4.3 million viewers overall) followed by an encore of Tuesday’s hourlong episode (1.5/3 in 18-49, 5.3 million viewers overall). And at 10, “Celebrity Apprentice” averaged a 1.4/4 in 18-49 and 4.6 million viewers overall, down from last week.

ABC struggled opening the night, as holiday special “It’s the Easter Beagle, Charlie Brown” settled for a 0.6/2 in 18-49 and 1.6 million viewers overall. And after a repeat of “Once Upon a Time” (0.6/2 in 18-49, 2.5 million viewers overall), the net spiked with  “Revenge” (1.5/3 in 18-49, 5.4 million viewers overall), though it was down from last week’s 1.8/4 in the demo for a series low. And closing the night, “Red Widow” (1.0/3 in 18-49, 4.1 million viewers overall) was down from last week’s 1.2 in the demo.

Fox aired all repeats of its animated programs: “Bob’s Burgers” (0.6/2 in 18-49, 1.6 million viewers overall), “The Cleveland Show” (0.8/3 in 18-49, 2.1 million viewers overall), “The Simpsons” (1.3/4 in 18-49, 3.1 million viewers overall), a second “Bob’s Burgers” at 8:30 p.m. (1.2/3 in 18-49, 2.6 million viewers overall), “Family Guy” (1.3/3 in 18-49, 3.0 million viewers overall) and “American Dad” (1.3/3 in 18-49, 3.0 million viewers overall).

Preliminary 18-49 averages for the night: CBS, 2.5/7; NBC, 1.3/3; Fox, 1.1/3; ABC, 0.9/2; Univision, 0.4/1.
In total viewers: CBS, 10.7 million; NBC, 4.6 million; ABC, 3.6 million; Fox, 2.5 million; Univision, 2.2 million.

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