The conclusion to college basketball’s March Madness tournament and original episodes of its top series lifted CBS to a rather easy primetime ratings victory in key demos last week as the net continued its hot start to spring.

Since the end of the Olympics on NBC in late February, CBS has been the top-rated network among adults 18-49 — winning in the demo for the fourth straight week and the fifth time in the last six weeks.

Overall, according to national estimates from Nielsen for the week of April 7-13, CBS led in adults 18-49 with a 2.1 rating/7 share, followed by ABC and Fox (1.5/5) and NBC (1.4/4). ABC was the only broadcaster up in the demo vs. the comparable week a year ago, rising 15% above its deep fourth-place finish last year to tie for second; the Alphabet has placed first or second in five of the last seven weeks.

CBS also won convincingly in adults 25-54 (2.9 to 1.9 for runner-up ABC) and total viewers (9.95 million to 6.20 million for ABC), winning in the latter for a sixth straight week.

The Eye’s big frame opened with the NCAA Men’s Basketball Final between Kentucky and Connecticut (7.2/20 in 18-49, 21.20 million viewers overall), which was easily the week’s No. 1 program despite being down 14% in 18-49 and 10% in total viewers vs. last year’s Louisville-Michigan matchup.

Of note on the series side were more first-place finishes opposite “American Idol” on Wednesday for “Survivor” (2.4/8 in 18-49, 9.62 million viewers overall) and “Criminal Minds” (2.3/7 in 18-49, 9.85 million viewers overall).

Thursday’s “The Big Bang Theory” (4.7/17 in 18-49, 16.29 million viewers overall) was the week’s No. 1 series in 18-49 and 25-54 (6.3/20), and Tuesday’s “NCIS” (2.4/8 in 18-49, 17.39 million viewers overall) drew more overall viewers than any other show.

On Friday, “Unforgettable” (1.0/4 in 18-49, 7.59 million viewers overall) was up across the board from its week-earlier season premiere.

For ABC, in a week with no original “Modern Family,” the top draws in 18-49 were Thursday dramas “Scandal” (3.0/9 in 18-49, 9.23 million viewers overall) and “Grey’s Anatomy” (2.6/8 in 18-49, 8.18 million viewers overall), both of which placed in the top 10. “Scandal” was television’s No. 1 ad-supported drama for the week in 18-49,

“Dancing With the Stars” (2.2/6 in 18-49, 14.47 million viewers overall) continued to look a little peppier with this edition, rising 10% above its demo score of last year opposite the college basketball championship.

And on Sunday, despite week-over-week declines, “Once Upon a Time” (2.0/6 in 18-49, 6.50 million viewers overall) and “Resurrection” (2.1/5 in 18-49, 7.46 million viewers overall) were the top ad-supported dramas on the crowded night in 18-49.

Fox tied with ABC for second in 18-49 to end its streak of fourth-place demo finishes, but it still doesn’t have a lot going for it this spring. Vets “Family Guy” (2.1/6 in 18-49, 4.39 million viewers overall) and “American Idol” (2.0/6 in 18-49, 8.90 million viewers overall) were its lone representatives among the week’s top 20 programs in 18-49.

In its third week, comedy “Surviving Jack” (1.2/3 in 18-49, 4.32 million viewers overall) retained all of the previous week’s young-adult audience and was within a tenth of its premiere (1.3).

NBC slipped a bit without “The Blacklist,” as installments of “The Voice” on Monday (3.5/10 in 18-49, 11.02 million viewers overall) and Tuesday (2.9/9 in 18-49, 11.09 million viewers overall) were easily its top two programs.

Wednesday saw good numbers for dramas “Law & Order: SVU” (2.1/6 in 18-49, 7.4 million viewers overall) and “Chicago PD” (1.6/5 in 18-49, 6.5 million viewers overall), with the former jumping 24% week to week for its top score since its season premiere. “PD,” meanwhile matched its top score since its crossover episode with “SVU” in late February.

USA was the week’s No. 1 cable network in 18-49, 25-54 and total viewers, led by “WWE Raw” (an average 1.9/5 in 18-49, 5.15 million viewers overall for its three hours).

Bravo’s “Real Housewives of Atlanta” wrapped its top-rated season to date Sunday (1.7/5 in 18-49, 3.82m), and discussion show “Watch What Happens Live” followed with series highs (1.6/4 in 18-49, 3.51m). Outside of wrestling, they were the top cable programs of the week in 18-49.

At MTV, Sunday’s “MTV Movie Awards” telecast (1.5/4 in 18-49, 2.84 million viewers overall) was down more than 20% vs. last year.

On the same crowded night, HBO’s “Game of Thrones” held up very well in its second week back (6.31 million, down 5% from its premiere), and its 3.4 rating in 18-49 placed it fourth among all primetime programs for the week. In its second week, the cabler’s “Silicon Valley” (1.69 million) was down 15% from its week-earlier premiere (1.98 million).



Adults 18-49 (rating/share)

CBS             2.1/7
ABC             1.6/5
Fox              1.5/5
NBC             1.4/4
UNI             1.1/3
TEL             0.4/1
CW              0.3/1

Total Viewers

CBS             9.95 million
ABC            6.20 million
NBC            5.40 million
Fox              4.94 million
UNI             2.73 million
TEL             1.18 million
CW              1.01 million

(Live plus same-day)

Adults 18-49
1.   NCAA Men’s Basketball Final: Connecticut-Kentucky (CBS), 7.2/20
2.  The Big Bang Theory (CBS), 4.7/17
3.  The Voice-Monday (NBC), 3.5/10
4.  Game of Thrones (HBO), 3.4/9*
5.  Scandal (ABC), 3.0/9
6.  The Voice-Tuesday (NBC), 2.9/9
7.  NCIS (CBS), 2.6/9
7.  Grey’s Anatomy (ABC), 2.6/8
9.  The Millers (CBS), 2.5/8
10.  Survivor (CBS), 2.4/8
10.  Two and a Half Men (CBS), 2.4/8
12.  NCIS: Los Angeles (CBS), 2.3/7
12.  Criminal Minds (CBS), 2.3/7
14.  Dancing With the Stars (ABC), 2.2/6
15.  SVU CBS), 2.1/6
15.  Family Guy (CBS), 2.1/6
15.  Resurrection (ABC), 2.1/5
18.  American Idol-Wednesday (Fox), 2.0/6
18.  The Big Bang Theory-Monday (CBS), 2.0/6
18.  Once Upon a Time (ABC), 2.0/6

Total Viewers (in millions)
1.  NCAA Men’s Basketball Final: Connecticut-Kentucky (CBS), 21.20
2.  NCIS (CBS), 17.39
3.  The Big Bang Theory (CBS), 16.29
4.  NCIS: Los Angeles (CBS), 14.56
5.  Dancing With the Stars (ABC), 14.47
6.  The Voice-Monday (NBC), 11.20
7.  The Voice-Tuesday (NBC), 11.09
8.  Blue Bloods (CBS), 11.05
9.  60 Minutes (CBS), 10.99
10.  The Millers (CBS), 10.07
11.  Criminal Minds (CBS), 9.85
12.  The Good Wife (CBS), 9.83
13.  Survivor (CBS), 9.62
14.  Two and a Half Men (CBS), 9.55
15.  Scandal (ABC), 9.23
16.  Hawaii Five-0 (CBS), 9.17
17.  CSI (CBS), 9.11
18.  The Mentalist (CBS), 9.02
19.  Castle (ABC), 8.99
20.  American Idol-Wednesday (Fox), 8.90

*not supported by advertising