You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Weekly Ratings: ‘Walking Dead,’ College Basketball Lead the Way; CBS Tops Among Networks

The most-watched March Madness tournament in 25 years has been good news for CBS, which won last week’s ratings race with ease, though it was AMC’s “The Walking Dead” that finished atop the program rankings in key demos.

The zombie drama wrapped its fifth season with a huge 8.2 rating/22 share in adults 18-49 and 15.78 million viewers overall — up a bit vs. last year and among the show’s three highest rated telecasts to date in both categories. It was the No. 1 program of the week in 18-49, 25-54 (8.0/20) and most other key demos while ranking No. 2 to CBS drama “NCIS” (16.23 million) in total viewers.

Post-show discussion series “Talking Dead” rose to all-time highs behind the “Walking Dead” finale (3.9/12 in 18-49, 7.52 million viewers overall), ranking No. 2 among all series for the week in the demo.

The performance of both “Dead” programs is especially impressive considering that AMC is available in about 20 million fewer homes than the Big Four broadcasters.

Another cable program that outperformed everything on the broadcast nets in 18-49 was TBS’ telecast of the nail-biter college basketball tournament game between Notre Dame and undefeated Kentucky on Saturday. It did a strong 4.9/19 in 18-49 while drawing 14.75 million total viewers — the largest audience ever for a basketball game on cable.

CBS also drew 14.75 million viewers (and a 4.3/18 in 18-49) for its most-watched basketball game of the week, the late Sunday afternoon contest between Duke and Gonzaga. In primetime, the Eye’s top hoops telecast was Thursday’s matchup between Kentucky and West Virginia (2.7/9 in 18-49, 8.04 million viewers overall).

Including college basketball, CBS could claim half of the week’s top 10 broadcasts in 18-49. It also had the week’s eight most-watched broadcast dramas overall.

NBC, which continues to lead the season in adults 18-49, was paced by “The Voice” on Monday and Tuesday but didn’t have any other top 20 shows. Its new Tuesday comedy hour of “Undateable” (1.5/5 in 18-49, 5.18 million viewers overall) and “One Big Happy” (1.2/4 in 18-49, 3.79 million viewers overall) fell off from their week-earlier premieres, though lead-in “The Voice” dropped some too.

In L+3 numbers, “Undateable” retained 81% of its second-season premiere score in 18-49 (1.76 vs. 2.18), while “One Big Happy” held a softer 72% (1.40 vs. 1.94).

ABC had more than its share and is the only network up vs. last year, but its “Scandal” hit a season low even as it was again the night’s top series in 18-49. And there wasn’t much to shout about at Fox, which was shut out of the top 20 one week after its “Empire” wrapped with big numbers.

At CW, “iZombie” (0.7/2 in 18-49, 1.99 million viewers overall) retained 80% of its premiere 18-49 score in L+3 (1.02 vs. 1.27), with at least part of that decline due to a 9% week-to-week falloff for lead-in “The Flash” (1.93 vs. 2.13).


(Week of March 23-29, 2015; live plus same-day)

Adults 18-49
CBS                              1.8/6
TBS                              1.6/5
ABC                              1.4/5
NBC                             1.4/5
Univision                      1.1/4
AMC                             1.0/4
Fox                               1.0/4
USA                              0.6/2
Telemundo                   0.6/2
CW                               0.5/2

Total Viewers (in millions)
CBS                              8.81
ABC                              6.06
NBC                             5.81
TBS                              4.62
Fox                               3.73
Univision                      2.94
AMC                             2.12
Fox News                    1.72
USA                             1.72
Telemundo                   1.47

(Week of March 23-29, 2015; live plus same-day)

Adults 18-49
1.  The Walking Dead (AMC), 8.2/23
2.  College basketball, Saturday: Kentucky-Notre Dame (TBS), 4.9/19
3.  Talking Dead (AMC), 3.9/13
4.  The Voice-Monday (NBC), 3.4/10
5.  Modern Family (ABC), 2.9/9
6.  The Voice-Tuesday (NBC), 2.8/10
7.  College basketball, Thursday: Kentucky-West Virginia (CBS), 2.7/9
8.  College basketball, Friday: Utah-Duke (CBS), 2.5/9
9.  College basketball, Thursday: North Carolina-Wisconsin (TBS), 2.3/8
9.  60 Minutes (CBS), 2.3/8
9.  Survivor (CBS), 2.3/8
9.  Scandal (ABC), 2.3/7
13.  Grey’s Anatomy (ABC), 2.2/8
13.  NCIS (CBS), 2.2/7
15.  Criminal Minds (CBS), 2.1/7
15.  The Goldbergs (ABC), 2.1/7
15.  Black-ish (ABC), 2.1/7
15.  Scorpion (CBS), 2.1/6
19.  Dancing With the Stars (ABC), 2.0/6
20.  The Middle (ABC), 1.9/7
20.  2 Broke Girls (CBS), 1.9/7
20.  Mike & Molly (CBS), 1.9/6

Total Viewers (in millions)
1.  NCIS (CBS), 16.23 
2.  The Walking Dead (AMC), 15.78
3.  College basketball, Saturday: Kentucky-Notre Dame (TBS), 14.75
4.  NCIS: New Orleans (CBS), 14.42
5.  Dancing With the Stars (ABC), 13.85
6.  60 Minutes (CBS), 13.82
7.  The Voice-Monday (NBC), 12.20
8.  The Voice-Tuesday (NBC), 11.62
9.  Madam Secretary (CBS), 11.47
10.  Criminal Minds (CBS), 10.08
11.  Scorpion (CBS), 9.70
12.  Survivor (CBS), 9.64
13.  NCIS: Los Angeles (CBS), 9.39
14.  Person of Interest (CBS), 9.15
15.  The Good Wife (CBS), 8.88
16.  Modern Family (ABC), 8.71
17.  American Idol-Wednesday (Fox), 8.46
18.  Grey’s Anatomy (ABC), 8.18
19.  CSI: Cyber (CBS), 8.16
20.  The Blacklist (NBC), 8.12

More TV

  • Black Panther

    'Black Panther,' 'Crazy Rich Asians,' 'Westworld' Among Costume Designers Guild Winners

    “Crazy Rich Asians,” “The Favourite” and “Black Panther” walked away with top honors at the 21st annual Costume Designers Guild Awards Tuesday night, the final industry guild show before the Oscars on Feb. 24. “The Favourite” and “Black Panther” are up for the Oscar this year, along with “The Ballad of Buster Scruggs,” “Mary Poppins [...]

  • Syfy Cancels 'Nightflyers' After One Season

    Syfy Cancels 'Nightflyers' After One Season

    The George R.R. Martin drama “Nightflyers” has been canceled by Syfy after only one season. Based on the novella from the mastermind behind “Game of Thrones,” the show was seen as a big gamble for the NBCUniversal-owned cable network, as it represented the most expensive series it had ever developed. The network attempted to spark [...]

  • Batwoman Arrow

    The CW's 'Batwoman' Pilot Switches Directors, Adds Dougray Scott

    The CW has added veteran Scottish actor Dougray Scott to its “Batwoman” pilot as well as swapped in Marcos Siega for previous director David Nutter, Variety has learned. The pilot, which stars Ruby Rose as the eponymous caped heroine, is being helmed by DC TV head Greg Berlanti, and was penned by “Vampire Diaries” alum [...]

  • OG Review

    Review: 'O.G.' on HBO

    Jeffrey Wright, the most compelling reason to watch HBO’s new film “O.G.,” is among television’s best actors at switching between codes or manners of being. On “Westworld,” his timeline-toggling android swaps personae so delicately that his performance gains in resonance when recalled in retrospect. (Perhaps that’s why Wright has been so oddly underrated through the [...]

  • Nahnatchka Khan Writers Room

    Nahnatchka Khan Exits 20th Century Fox TV for Overall Deal at Universal

    Nahnatchka Khan has signed a four-year overall deal at Universal Television. The deal brings an end to the decade-plus Khan and her Fierce Baby Productions banner spent at 20th Century Fox Television. The move will see Khan exit from her role as showrunner on ABC comedy “Fresh Off the Boat,” which she also created. The [...]

  • David Ajala

    'Nightflyers' Star David Ajala Joins CBS Drama Pilot 'Under the Bridge'

    David Ajala has been cast in a lead role in the CBS drama pilot “Under the Bridge,” Variety has learned. In the project, when a scandal rocks the medical practice she runs with her husband and their friends, a surgeon rises to the occasion and takes the lead in trying to mend both the practice and [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content