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Prime-time Tv Rankings

Obama, NCAA lift CBS to its 20th win

'60 Minutes' and basketball's 'March Madness' make the network No. 1.

March 25, 2009|City News Service

CBS was the most-watched network last week for the 20th time in the television season's 26 weeks, as its customarily strong lineup was bolstered by an interview of President Obama on "60 Minutes" and increased viewership for the NCAA men's basketball tournament.

CBS had six of the 11 most-watched programs from March 16 through Sunday, averaging 11.49 million viewers for its prime-time programming, according to figures released Tuesday by Nielsen Media Research.

"60 Minutes" was CBS' most-watched program, finishing fourth overall with 17.04 million viewers. The episode of "The Amazing Race" that followed was 15th for the week.

Fox Broadcasting was second, averaging 10.28 million viewers, thanks in large measure to the usual 1-2 finish by "American Idol." Its next most-watched programs were "House," 12th with 13.13 million viewers, and "24," 19th with 11.36 million viewers.

ABC was the most-watched network on Thursday, averaging 10.64 million viewers, topping CBS' coverage of the opening night of the NCAA men's basketball tournament. CBS averaged 8.98 million viewers for the first segment of its prime-time coverage, up 9.8% over last year, and 7.78 million for the second, up 1.9%.

The tournament made CBS the most-watched network on both Friday and Saturday nights. The first segment Friday averaged 7.05 million viewers, 8.2% less than the 7.67 million last year, but the second segment averaged 8.9 million viewers, an 8.4% increase over last year. Saturday's coverage averaged 10.78 million viewers, a 7.6% increase over last year.

The week's most-watched cable program was the final 67-minute segment of the "Monday Night Raw" professional wrestling program on USA with 5.34 million viewers, which would have put it 64th among the programs shown on the five major broadcast networks.

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Here are the rankings for national prime-time network television last week (March 16-22) as compiled by Nielsen Media Research. They are based on the average number of people who watched a program from start to finish. Nielsen estimates there are 286 million potential viewers in the U.S. ages 2 and older. Viewership is listed in millions.

*--* -- Program Net- View- -- -- work ers *--*

*--* 1 American Idol (Wed.) FOX 23.70 2 American Idol (Tue.) FOX 21.89 3 Dancing With the Stars ABC 21.22 4 60 Minutes CBS 17.04 5 NCIS CBS 15.83 *--*

*--* 6 The Mentalist CBS 15.49 7 Desperate Housewives ABC 14.75 8 Grey's Anatomy (Thu., 9 p.m.) ABC 14.61 9 Two and a Half Men CBS 14.12 10 Criminal Minds CBS 13.74 *--*

*--* 11 CSI: Miami CBS 13.61 12 House FOX 13.13 13 CSI: NY CBS 12.79 14 Dancing With the Stars Results ABC 12.74 15 The Amazing Race CBS 12.42 *--*

*--* 16 Without a Trace CBS 11.87 17 Rules of Engagement CBS 11.42 18 Cold Case CBS 11.41 19 24 FOX 11.36 20 Castle ABC 10.96 *--*

*--* 21 NCAA Basketball (Sat., 8 p.m.) CBS 10.78 22 Law & Order: SVU NBC 10.74 23 Bones FOX 10.52 24 Lie to Me FOX 10.26 25 Brothers & Sisters ABC 10.15 *--*

*--* 26 Extreme Makeover: Home Edition (8 p.m.) ABC 9.91 27 Private Practice ABC 9.74 28 The Big Bang Theory CBS 9.69 29 ER NBC 9.47 30 Lost ABC 9.40 *--*

*--* 31 How I Met Your Mother CBS 9.29 32 NCAA Basketball (Thu. 7 p.m.) CBS 8.97 33 NCAA Basketball (Fri., 9:30 p.m.) CBS 8.90 34 NCAA Basketball Postgame (Sat., 10:30) CBS 8.37 35 The Unit CBS 8.14 *--*

*--* 36 The Office NBC 8.07 37 The Biggest Loser NBC 7.99 Dancing With the Stars ABC 7.99 (Recap) 39 NCAA Basketball (Thu., 10 CBS 7.77 p.m.) 40 Hell's Kitchen FOX 7.54 *--*

*--* 41 Ugly Betty ABC 7.42 42 The Apprentice NBC 7.39 43 Gary Unmarried CBS 7.37 44 Family Guy FOX 7.33 45 Primetime: What Would You Do? ABC 7.26 *--*

*--* 46 The New Adventures of Old Christine CBS 7.21 47 Law & Order NBC 7.14 48 30 Rock NBC 7.13 49 America's Funniest Home Videos ABC 7.12 50 NCAA Basketball (Fri.) CBS 7.05 *--*

*--* 51 Dateline (Sun., 7 p.m.) NBC 6.65 52 20/20 (Fri.) ABC 6.55 53 My Name Is Earl NBC 6.43 54 48 Hours Mystery CBS 6.25 55 The Simpsons FOX 6.19 *--*

*--* 56 Dateline (Fri.) NBC 6.15 57 Manana Para Siempre (Wed.) UNI 5.90 58 American Dad FOX 5.83 59 Manana Para Siempre (Thu.) UNI 5.77 Cops 2 FOX 5.77 *--*

*--* 61 Scrubs (Wed., 8 p.m.) ABC 5.62 62 America's Most Wanted FOX 5.58 63 Better Off Ted ABC 5.50 King of the Hill FOX 5.50 65 Manana Para Siempre (Tue.) UNI 5.41 *--*

*--* Law & Order (Sat.) NBC 5.41 67 Manana Para Siempre (Fri.) UNI 5.28 68 Supernanny ABC 5.25 69 Manana Para Siempre (Mon.) UNI 5.18 70 Life on Mars ABC 4.97 *--*

*--* 71 Cops FOX 4.95 72 Cuidado con el Angel (Wed.) UNI 4.91 73 Cuidado con el Angel (Tue.) UNI 4.84 74 Cuidado con el Angel (Thu.) UNI 4.75 75 Wife Swap ABC 4.73 *--*

*--* 76 Kings NBC 4.60 77 The Office (Thu.) NBC 4.58 78 Cuidado con el Angel (Mon.) UNI 4.46 79 Medium NBC 4.38 80 Cuidado con el Angel (Fri.) UNI 4.37 *--*

*--* 81 Life NBC 4.31 82 Dollhouse FOX 4.14 83 Rosa de Guadalupe (Thu.) UNI 4.08 84 Howie Do It (8 p.m.) NBC 3.97 85 Chuck NBC 3.94 *--*

Network averages

Here is the number of viewers (in millions) that each network averaged per hour of prime time, for last week and for the season.

*--* Network Last week Season to date CBS 11.49 11.19 FOX 10.28 9.1 ABC 9.17 8.49 NBC 5.74 7.71 UNI 3.97 3.92 *--*

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