TV Ratings: CBS Dominates with College Basketball and Crime Dramas

CBS had the top-rated show on television every single night for the week of April 6-12, thanks to college basketball and its staple programming of comedies and crime dramas.

Monday night’s NCAA men’s basketball championship game between Wisconsin and Duke on CBS was the most-watched program of the week. The Duke victory pulled in 28.2 million viewers, up sharply from last year’s championship between Kentucky and Connecticut, which had 21.2 million.

CBS continued to dominate the rest of the week, with “NCIS” winning Tuesday (and coming in second overall for the entire week with 16.8 million viewers), “Criminal Minds” taking Wednesday, “The Big Bang Theory” topping Thursday (and coming in third for the week, with 14.8 million) and so on.

“60 Minutes” on CBS won the Sunday race, pulling in 12.6 million viewers after a boosting lead-in from the Masters Golf Tournament. This marks the series’ seventh top-10 appearance in nine weeks.

The return of “Game of Thrones” on HBO pulled in 8 million viewers for the premiere of its fifth season, a record for the show. The premiere of season four last year drew 6.6 million, and the previous high of 7.2 million was held by an episode midway through last season.

The MTV Movie Awards also drew a younger audience, but not nearly as many as previous years. Nielsen estimates 1.6 million tuned in to watch statues of golden popcorn fete performances in such categories as “Best Scared as Sh-t Performance” (which went to Jennifer Lopez) and “Best Shirtless Performance” (which went to Zac Efron). Viewership dipped considerably from last year’s ceremony, which drew 2.8 million viewers. This year marked the show’s lowest rating since 1994.

More wholesome programming didn’t perform as well as it did during the week of Passover and Easter. NBC’s airing of “A.D. The Bible Continues” pulled in 7.8 million viewers, down about 25% in its second week.

The broadcast networks were, unsurprisingly, led by CBS, which averaged 10.57 million viewers. NBC came in second place with an average of 6.29 million viewers, followed by ABC’s 5.71 million and Fox’s 3.59 million.

For the week of April 6-12, the top 10 shows, their networks and viewerships: “NCAA Basketball Championships – Wisconsin vs. Duke,” CBS, 28.2 million; “NCIS,” CBS, 16.8 million; “The Big Bang Theory,” CBS, 14.8 million; “NCIS: New Orleans,” CBS, 14.3 million; “Dancing with the Stars,” ABC, 13.8 million; “60 Minutes,” CBS, 12.6 million; “Madam Secretary,” CBS, 11.4 million; “The Voice – Tuesday,” NBC, 11.1 million; “The Voice,” NBC, 11 million; “Criminal Minds,” CBS, 10.4 million.

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