Hoops Help CBS Top Rivals on a Big Night for Cable

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

Hoops Help CBS Top Rivals on Big Night Cable

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.