CBS won among the broadcast networks on Sunday behind its annual airing of the “Academy of Country Music Awards,” but the kudocast took a tumble opposite tough competition that included AMC’s season finale of “The Walking Dead” and another music awards special, the “iHeart Radio Awards” on the Turner cable networks.
According to preliminary national estimates from Nielsen, CBS opened Sunday with “60 Minutes” (1.1/4 in 18-49, 9.4 million viewers overall), which swept the 7 o’clock hour. It was followed by the “ACM Awards” (2.3/7 in 18-49, 11.2 million viewers overall), which were down a steep 36% from last year in the demo and 30% from two years ago (3.3) but stood as the night’s top-rated broadcast in most categories.
The show, hosted from Las Vegas by Dierks Bentley and Luke Bryan, hasn’t had to face “The Walking Dead” in recent years, let alone a season finale. Also, this time around it faced the “iHeart Radio Awards” on TBS and TNT, which had been promoted extensively during TBS’ coverage of college basketball’s Final Four games on Saturday night. (In some years, the ACM Awards were scheduled on the night between CBS’ coverage of the Final Four and the college basketball championship game, but neither of those events was on the Eye this year.)
Ratings for Sunday’s cable action won’t be available until Tuesday.
Elsewhere, ABC was up a little from last week’s depressed Easter night ratings, and may have benefited from being the only broadcast airing scripted dramas. Following “America’s Funniest Home Videos” (1.0/4 in 18-49, 4.9 million viewers overall), “Once Upon a Time” (1.1/4 in 18-49, 3.8 million viewers overall), “The Family” (0.7/2 in 18-49, 3.2 million viewers overall) and “Quantico” (1.0/3 in 18-49, 3.7 million viewers overall) all picked up a tenth from last week.
In last week’s “live plus-3” ratings, “Once Upon a Time” (1.67 in 18-49, 5.02 million viewers overall) was up a little over the prior week (1.65, 4.85 million) after being behind a little in same-day. And “The Family” may have hit another low in 18-49 (1.14), but its L+3 lift matched its largest to date for a Sunday episode and its percentage lift (81%) was its highest to date.
At NBC, a repeat of “Little Big Shots” (0.8/3 in 18-49, 5.4 million viewers overall) was followed by an original episode at 8 (1.8/6 in 18-49, 11.1 million viewers overall), the night’s No. 1 broadcast series and narrowly ahead of the ACM Awards in total viewers for the hour. While still a strong performer, the Steve Harvey-hosted alternative series has lost a little steam and last night’s rating was a tick below its Easter score and its lowest to date.
“Big Shots” was followed by comedies “The Carmichael Show” (1.0/3 in 18-49, 5.0 million viewers overall) and “Crowded” (0.8/2 in 18-49, 3.6 million viewers overall), which were on par with last week. And at 10 p.m., the time period debut of “Dateline” (0.8/3 in 18-49, 3.8 million viewers overall) was a slight upgrade over last week’s “Hollywood Game Night.”
Fox had a rough night even with all originals, as “Bordertown” (0.4/2 in 18-49, 1.0 million viewers overall) and “Cooper Barrett’s Guide to Surviving Life” (0.4/2 in 18-49, 0.9 million viewers overall) finished deep in fourth place among the broadcasters and the rest of the night couldn’t recover. “The Simpsons” (1.0/4 in 18-49, 2.3 million viewers overall) and “The Last Man on Earth” at 9:30 (0.9/3 in 18-49, 2.1 million viewers overall) fell to season lows, sandwiching the time-period premiere of “Bob’s Burgers” at 8:30 (1.0/3 in 18-49, 2.0 million viewers overall) and a special second episode at 9 (0.9/3 in 18-49, 2.0 million viewers overall).