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Live television ruled in primetime last week as college basketball on CBS and “American Idol” on Fox carried their respective nets to victory.

The nets battled to a tie in the adults 18-49 demo, with the music megahit dominating midweek and hoops action winning 20 consecutive half-hours of the primetime sked from Thursday to Sunday.

Overall, according to Nielsen estimates for March 15-21, Fox and CBS both earned a 3.2 rating/10 share in adults 18-49, well ahead of NBC (1.9/6) and doubling up ABC (1.6/5). Fox and CBS were well ahead of the pack in other categories, with the Eye prevailing in adults 25-54 (3.9/11 to 3.7/10) and total viewers (10.8 million to 9.2 million) while Fox led in 12-34 (2.4/8 to 2.1/8).

Fox was paced as usual by “American Idol,” both with Tuesday’s two-hour performance episode (8.1/22 in 18-49, 22.91m) and Wednesday’s results show (6.8/20, 20.51m). Show continues to track within about 5% of its year-ago averages.The net also prevailed in Monday’s leadoff hour with “House” (4.0/12 in 18-49, 11.37m) and Wednesday, where rookie drama “Human Target” kicked things off a winner (2.3/8, 8.01m).

The NCAA men’s basketball tourney won three straight nights for CBS, led by Thursday’s late group of games, which averaged a 3.4/11 in 18-49 and 8.88 million viewers overall — up about 10% vs. the comparable action a year ago.

And Sunday’s second-round action provided a nice lead-in for the net’s reality combo of “The Amazing Race” (3.8/9 in 18-49, 11.99m) and “Undercover Boss” (4.4/11, 14.47m), both of which were delayed by about 50 minutes in most of the country. Last week among all series, “Boss” trailed only Fox’s “Idol” in 18-49.

NBC was led by “The Office” (3.6/11 in 18-49, 7.66m) and the shows that followed it on Thursday: “30 Rock,” which hit a three-month demo high (3.0/9, 6.80m), and the new “Marriage Ref” (2.9/9, 7.60m), which grew 12% week to week. Also, “Law and Order: SVU” led its Wednesday hour (2.8/9, 9.65m).

Among recent unscripted additions to the sked, Friday’s “Who Do You Think You Are” held steady (1.7/6 in 18-49, 7.10m), but Sunday’s “Minute to Win It” (1.8/5, 5.11m) and “Celebrity Apprentice” (2.6/7, 6.81m) took a hit opposite atypical competish.

ABC had only two hours of the week where it topped a 3 demo rating — Tuesday with “Lost” (3.9/10 in 18-49, 8.87m) and Sunday with “Desperate Housewives” (3.5/8, 10.84m). Alphabet was unable to excite auds for Thursday’s two-hour return of “FlashForward” (1.9/6, 6.50m).

Dragging the net down was the two-night figure skating special “Thin Ice” (0.6/2 in 18-49, 4.02m on Friday; 0.7/2, 4.33m on Sunday) and a repeat of “FlashForward” that placed 13th on Saturday (0.4/1, 1.65m). (That might explain why net dropped its reruns of “V” March 27 for a repeat of Monday’s big “Dancing With the Stars” premiere.)

At CW, “America’s Next Top Model” looked healthy in its Wednesday season preem (1.7/5 in 18-49, 3.78m), but the lead-in was wasted on alternative series that followed it, “High Society” (0.5/2, 1.18m).

USA led a rather quiet week in cable behind “WWE Raw” (2.0/5 in 18-49, 5.60m for its two-hour average), but the top telecast was Discovery spec “Life” (2.2/5, 6.01m for its two hours Sunday).

FX’s “Justified” opened well on Tuesday (1.6/4, 4.15m), while other standouts for the week included Comedy Central’s returning “South Park” (2.0/6, 3.74m) and Oxygen’s “Bad Girls Club” reunion (1.4/4, 2.66m), with the latter leading all of television in Tuesday’s 10 p.m. hour among women 18-34 (3.0/9).