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College basketball, the penultimate episode of “How I Met Your Mother” and improved numbers for “The Good Wife” propelled CBS to an easy primetime ratings victory in key demos last week.

Nothing, meanwhile, could come close to what AMC’s “The Walking Dead” did with its season finale. Last week also saw a more subdued season-ender for A&E’s “Duck Dynasty,” though it was still among primetime’s top 15 programs in young adults.

Overall, according to Nielsen estimates for March 24-30, CBS led in adults 18-49 with a 2.1 rating/6 share and was followed by ABC (1.5) and NBC (1.5/4), Fox (1.3/4) and Univision (1.0/3). This marked the fourth straight week that Fox has placed fourth.

The Eye also had it in adults 25-54 (2.7/7) and total viewers (9.1 million), winning in the latter by nearly three million over runner-up ABC (6.2 million).

For CBS, three basketball games and six series ranked among the week’s top 20 programs in adults 18-49. The top-rated hoops action was Friday’s contest between Kentucky and Louisville (3.6/12 in 18-49, 10.01 million viewers overall).

The net’s No. 1 non-sports telecast in the demo was “How I Met Your Mother” (3.5/11 in 18-49, 9.04 million viewers overall), which shot up 21% from the previous week. And in total viewers, “NCIS” led the way (2.5/8 in 18-49, 17.52 million viewers overall), standing as the week’s most popular program with an episode that introduced characters from a proposed spinoff set in New Orleans.

Reality vets “Survivor” (2.3/7 in 18-49, 9.85 million viewers overall) and “The Amazing Race” (2.0/5 in 18-49, 9.51 million viewers overall) contributed too, racking up the largest audiences of their current cycles. “Survivor” beat Fox’s “American Idol” head-to-head in total viewers for the first time.

On Sunday, “The Good Wife” (1.8/4 in 18-49, 10.96 million viewers overall) rose 29% week to week for its best demo score in its last five telecasts, and also drew its largest overall audience in more than two years (since January 2012).

At ABC, “Scandal” (3.1/10 in 18-49, 9.01 million viewers overall) and “Grey’s Anatomy” (2.6/8 in 18-49, 8.42m) were on the rise and lifted the net to its top-rated Thursday in four weeks.

While “Scandal” was the week’s top broadcast drama in 18-49, the net’s “Modern Family” led in comedy (3.6/11 in 18-49, 10.09 million viewers overall) — posting its highest 18-49 rating since mid-November. Also Wednesday for the net, “The Middle” (1.9/6 in 18-49, 7.28 million viewers overall) achieved a first by pulling even in its timeslot with “American Idol” in 18-49.

On Sunday, “Resurrection” (2.4/6 in 18-49, 8.39 million viewers overall) was down a tick in its fourth week. Still, despite stronger-than-usual ratings for timeslot drama rivals “Walking Dead” and “The Good Wife,” the new ABC drama remained the night’s top broadcast in 18-49.

NBC was paced as usual by “The Voice,” whose Monday edition (3.7/10 in 18-49, 12.85 million viewers overall) was the week’s No. 1 broadcast program in 18-49.

Also performing well, behind the Tuesday “Voice,” were comedies “About a Boy” (2.0/6 in 18-49, 7.41 million viewers overall) and “Growing Up Fisher” (1.7/5 in 18-49, 6.24 million viewers overall). This marked the third straight week that “Boy” was at either a 2.0 or 2.1, and that “Fisher” was at 1.7 or 1.8.

The net also had improved numbers for some of its lesser heralded programs, including Thursday’s “Parenthood” (1.4/4 in 18-49, 4.40 million viewers overall), which delivered its highest 18-49 rating since October and its biggest overall viewership since premiere week. And on Friday, “Hannibal” (1.0/3 in 18-49, 3.49m) drew its second demo rating and largest overall audience in its five airings this season, and “Dateline” (1.5/5 in 18-49, 8.04 million viewers overall) attracted its largest total-viewer result in three years.

It was another quiet week for Fox, where no program– not even “American Idol” — ranked among the week’s top 20 in 18-49.

At CW, new Wednesday drama “The 100” (0.7/2 in 18-49, 2.27 million viewers overall) looked pretty good in its second week, retaining 88% of its “Arrow” lead-in in total viewers and 78% in adults 18-49.

Of note on cable were the season finales for TV’s all-time top-rated cable series in 18-49 (AMC’s “The Walking Dead”) and the most-watched cable reality series to date (A&E’s “Duck Dynasty”). The shows are headed in the opposite direction, with the zombie skein (8.0/20 in 18-49, 15.68 million viewers overall) up 25% in 18-49 from its year-ago closer, and the redneck reality series down 40% in the demo (to 2.5/8 in 18-49, 6.00m). Still, “Duck” quacked its way onto the list of the week’s top 15 programs in 18-49.

At Nickelodeon, the “Kids Choice Awards” averaged 5.03 million viewers on Saturday, down 14% from last year (5.82 million).



Adults 18-49 (rating/share)

CBS            2.1/6
ABC             1.5/5
NBC            1.5/4
Fox              1.3/4
UNI             1.0/3
CW              0.6/2
TEL             0.5/1

Total Viewers

CBS             9.09 million
ABC            6.25 million
NBC            5.92 million
Fox              4.13 million
UNI             2.74 million
CW              1.62 million
TEL             1.22 million

(Live plus same-day)

Adults 18-49
1.   The Walking Dead (AMC), 8.0/20
2.  The Voice-Monday (NBC), 3.7/10
2.  Talking Dead (AMC), 3.7/10
4.  NCAA basketball-Friday: Kentucky-Louisville (CBS), 3.6/12
4.  Modern Family (ABC), 3.6/11
6.  How I Met Your Mother (CBS), 3.5/11
7.  The Voice-Tuesday (NBC), 3.4/11
8.  Scandal (ABC), 3.1/10
9.  60 Minutes (CBS), 2.8/9
9.  The Blacklist (NBC), 2.8/8
11.  NCAA basketball-Thursday (NBC), 2.6/9
11.  Grey’s Anatomy (ABC), 2.6/8
13.  NCIS (CBS), 2.5/8
13.  Duck Dynasty (A&E), 2.5/7
15.  NCIS: Los Angeles (CBS), 2.4/7
15.  Resurrection (ABC), 2.4/6
17.  NCAA basketball-Friday: Tennessee-Michigan (CBS), 2.3/9
17.  Survivor (CBS), 2.3/7
17.  2 Broke Girls (CBS), 2.3/7

Total Viewers (in millions)
1.  NCIS (CBS), 17.52
2.  The Walking Dead (AMC), 15.68
3.  NCIS: Los Angeles (CBS), 15.54
4.  Dancing With the Stars (ABC), 14.65
5.  60 Minutes (CBS), 14.30
6.  The Voice-Monday (NBC), 12.85
7.  The Voice-Tuesday (NBC), 12.45
8.  Person of Interest (CBS), 12.23
9.  The Good Wife (CBS), 10.96
10.  The Blacklist (NBC), 10.80
11.  Modern Family (ABC), 10.09
12.  NCAA basketball-Friday: Kentucky-Louisville (CBS), 10.01
13.  Survivor (CBS), 9.85
14.  Castle (ABC), 9.78
15.  The Amazing Race (CBS), 9.51
16.  American Idol-Wednesday (Fox), 9.33
17.  How I Met Your Mother (CBS), 9.04
18.  Scandal (ABC), 9.02
19.  The Mentalist (CBS), 8.72
20.  Grey’s Anatomy (ABC), 8.42