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March Madness Hoops Help CBS Dunk Its Rivals on Sunday

Fox's 'Family Guy' rises week to week, is night's top broadcast series in young adults

A lengthy overrun from its coverage of college basketball’s March Madness lifted CBS to victory in key demos Sunday, a night that saw Fox’s “Family Guy” emerge as the top-rated broadcast series among young adults. AMC’s “The Walking Dead,” which has been averaging a mid-5 demo rating of late, should again be the night’s No. 1 series in the demo.

According to preliminary national estimates from Nielsen, the NCAA men’s basketball game between North Carolina and Kansas extended about 46 minutes into primetime in much of the country, with CBS opting to air “60 Minutes” in its entirety and delay the start of its entertainment series. All four of the net’s SUnday series started on time in the West.

In the 7 o’clock hour, with mostly basketball and some “60 Minutes,” CBS dominated with a 3.4 rating/10 share in adults 18-49 and 11.7 million viewers overall. In the 8 o’clock hour, which was mostly “60 Minutes” and some “The Amazing Race,” the net averaged a 2.4/6 in 18-49 and 10.3 million viewers overall. From 9 to 10 p.m., with mostly “The Amazing Race” and some “The Good Wife,” CBS dipped to a 2.0/5 in the demo and 9.4 million total viewers. And in the final hour of primetime , the combo of “The Good Wife” and some “The Mentalist” averaged a 1.6/4 in 18-49 and 9.2 million viewers overall.

Regardless of how the individual program averages shake out, CBS will have won the night in 18-49, 25-54 and total viewers.

Elsewhere, Fox ran second among adults 18-49 even though the first half of its lineup was repeats: “Bob’s Burgers” (0.9/3 in 18-49, 2.2 million viewers overall), “The Cleveland Show” (0.9/3 in 18-49, 2.3 million viewers overall) and “The Simpsons” (1.6/4 in 18-49, 3.7 million viewers overall). And though an original episode of “Bob’s Burgers” at 8:30 p.m. didn’t do all that much (1.7/4 in 18-49, 3.7 million viewers overall), auds flipped to Fox at 9 p.m. for “Family Guy” (2.6/6 in 18-49, 3.7 million viewers overall), which was up from last week and ruled as the No. 1 broadcast series for the night in 18-49. And at 9:30 p.m., “American Dad” held on to most of its lead-in (2.3/5 in 18-49, 4.5 million viewers overall).

ABC had a nothing-special night, with “America’s Funniest Home Videos” (1.3/4 in 18-49, 6.9 million viewers overall) appearing to be affected by basketball competition on CBS, coming in down from last week’s repeat. At 8 p.m., “Once Upon a Time” was down a bit (2.1/6 in 18-49, 7.3 million viewers overall), followed by “Revenge” (1.8/4 in 18-49, 6.1 million viewers overall), which was on par with last week, and “Red Widow” (1.2/3 in 18-49, 4.5 million viewers overall), which was up a bit from its low of last week.

Both “Once Upon a Time” and “Revenge” continue to perform much better in the top four markets than in the rest of the country. In the 17% of U.S. homes comprised by New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Philadelphia, “Once” averaged a 2.87 rating in adults 18-49 — 33% larger than the 2.15 it did nationwide. And in the same markets, “Revenge” performed 25% better than its national average (2.31 vs. 1.85).

At NBC, a two-hour “Dateline” (1.1/3 in 18-49, 6.1 million viewers overall) and “Celebrity Apprentice” (1.5/4 in 18-49, 5.1 million viewers overall) were both down some week to week.

Preliminary 18-49 averages for the night: CBS, 2.4/6; Fox, 1.7/4; ABC, 1.6/4; NBC, 1.3/4; Univision, 0.9/2.
In total viewers: CBS, 10.1 million; ABC, 6.2 million; NBC, 5.6 million; Fox, 3.6 million; Univision, 2.5 million.

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