‘Good Wife’ Rises on Sunday of Gains for Basketball-Boosted CBS

Julianna Margulies Emmys

CBS won Sunday’s primetime ratings race among the broadcast networks thanks to a sizable college basketball overrun, but the net also saw higher-than-usual numbers for “The Good Wife,” which built on the buzz generted by the prior week’s controversial episode.

Of course, nothing on Sunday will compare to the season finale of AMC’s “The Walking Dead,” which was expected to more than double the demo average of any other primetime program on Sunday. Ratings for the zombie skein will be released later today.

Looking at Sunday’s broadcast action, a roughly 20-minute overrun from the NCAA men’s basketball quarterfinal game between Kentucky and Michigan dominated the opening hour of primetime. Reliable numbers won’t be released until Tuesday, but the down-to-the-wire game is projected to have closed with more than 20 million viewers and a demo rating more than double the combined scores of ABC, NBC and Fox in the 7 o’clock half-hour.

The rest of the night slid from there in most of the country, with the CBS stations averaging a 2.5 rating/8 share in adults 18-49 and 13.2 million viewers overall for the 7:30-8:30 p.m. hour (mostly “60 Minutes”) and a 2.0/5 in 18-49 and 9.8 million viewers overall from 8:30 to 9:30 p.m. (mostly “The Amazing Race”). Last week, the newsmag did a 2.0 in the demo, and the reality series earned a 1.8.

From 9:30 to 10:30 p.m., “The Good Wife” averaged roughly a 1.7/4 in 18-49 and 10.4 million viewers overall, roughly 20% week-to-week improvement from last week’s episode (1.4), which featured the death of the character played by series regular Josh Charles; if the numbers hold, “Wife” will have matched the show’s second highest 18-49 rating of the season and attracted its second largest audience of the season. From 10:30 to 11 p.m., “The Mentalist” averaged a 1.5/4 in 18-49 and 8.6 million viewers overall.

Elsewhere, ABC ran second among the major networks despite declines for every show but “Once Upon a Time.” The night opened with “America’s Funniest Home Videos” (1.2/4 in 18-49, 5.9 million viewers overall), down from last week’s 1.4 in the demo, and “Once Upon a Time” (2.1/6 in 18-49, 6.5 million viewers overall), which held steady.

At 9 p.m., “Resurrection” (2.3/6 in 18-49, 8.2 million viewers overall) declined for a third straight week since its big March 9 premiere, off 8% from the previous week’s 2.5. Still, it was the No. 1 broadcast entertainment series of the night in 18-49 and 25-54 (3.0/7). In Nielsen’s Live+7 data for the March 16 episode, “Resurrection” grew from its same-night numbers by 48% in adults 18-49 (3.1 to 4.6) and by 38% in total viewers (11.2 million to 15.5 million) — in both cases, higher percentage gains than delivered by the show’s premiere.

At 10 p.m., “Revenge” (1.4/4 in 18-49, 5.2 million viewers overall) was down a tenth from last week. It and “Resurrection” continue to provide the net with big time period improvement over last year’s combo of “Revenge” (at 9) and “Red Widow.”

Fox’s lineup was down a little from last week, with “Bob’s Burgers” (1.0/3 in 18-49, 2.3 million viewers overall) down from last week’s 1.2, but “American Dad” (1.4/4 in 18-49, 2.8 million viewers overall) and “The Simpsons” (1.9/5 in 18-49, 3.9 million viewers overall) holding even. “Family Guy” (2.1/6 in 18-49, 4.1 million viewers overall) was down a tick from last week but earned a share of the broadcast demo lead in the 8:30 p.m. half-hour. And at 9, science series “Cosmos” (1.5/4 in 18-49, 3.9 million viewers overall) declined 12% (0.2) for its third straight decline since its March 9 premiere.

NBC followed a special repeat of “The Voice” (0.7/2 in 18-49, 3.0 million viewers overall) with the second week of alternative series “American Dream Builders” (0.8/2 in 18-49, 3.3 million viewers overall), which was down a tick from its weak premiere. Dramas “Believe” (1.1/3 in 18-49, 4.8 million viewers overall) and “Crisis” (1.0/3 in 18-49, 4.3 million viewers overall) also dipped in their third week together.

Preliminary 18-49 averages for the night: CBS, 2.3/6; ABC, 1.8/5; Fox, 1.5/4; NBC, 0.9/3; Univision, 0.7/2; Telemundo, 0.6/2.

In total viewers: CBS, 11.7 million; ABC, 6.5 million; NBC, 3.9 million; Fox, 3.5 million; Univision, 2.0 million; Telemundo, 1.5 million.


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  1. Mara says:

    I liked the “Last Call” better than the previous episode. It was all too obvious that Will Gardner had to go, but the way grief was handled was, in my opinion, truly heartbreaking.

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