College basketball ratings continue to bounce the Eye’s way after a flurry of down-to-the-wire finishes kept auds glued to the games.
Highlighted by Thursday action that saw top-seeded Duke go down in defeat and high seeds Texas and UCLA win on last-second shots, CBS Sports has averaged a 5.9 preliminary household rating through seven days of action, according to Nielsen.
That’s down 3% from last year’s strong 6.1, but still matches the second best for the tournament at this point since 1999.
On Thursday, LSU’s upset of Duke scored a 7.6 household rating/13 share in national results, up 10% from last year’s 6.9/12 for the comparable window (7:15-10 p.m. ET) and the best since a 7.8/13 in 2002.
And later that night (10 p.m.-12:30 a.m. ET), a victory by Texas over West Virginia at the buzzer and UCLA’s big rally to defeat Gonzaga netted a 7.1/13 in national household Nielsens — up 3% from last year’s 6.9/12 and the second highest result in this window in 12 years.
CBS, in its 25th year of covering March Madness, will air the tourney’s semifinals Saturday and the championship game April 3.
Of note among entertainment programs, Thursday was another solid showing for ABC’s unscripted newbie “American Inventor” (5.1/13 in 18-49, 13.04m), which edged out basketball and NBC’s comedies in 18-49 to win its 9 o’clock hour. Show built on its lead-in from a special “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” (3.6/10, 10.70m) devoted to families affected by Hurricane Katrina.
“Inventor” will face its stiffest test this week when “CSI” returns to the CBS sked following a two-week hiatus due to basketball.