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CBS Wins Thursday Prime as NCAA Tourney Continues to Post Gains; New Fox Series Debuts Low TVbytheNumbers

CBS had the winning formula in Thursday's prime-time ratings, as its coverage of the "March Madness" NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament continued to post gains over last year's numbers, based on Nielsen overnights for the key 18-49 demo.

TVbytheNumbers.com reports that CBS pulled a preliminary 2.5 average rating in 18-49 for prime time, up two-tenths of a point from last year. The report notes that the network's results are subject to more than the usual adjustments due to the nature of live programming.

Second-place ABC saw its entire prime-time lineup improve from a week ago. "Scandal" led the way with a 3.1 average in viewers 18-49 -- the best number for any program Thursday night on broadcast prime, and an improvement of two-tenths over last week.

ABC's "Grey's Anatomy" delivered a 2.5 in the 18-49 demo, ticking up one-tenth from a week ago, while "Once Upon a Time in Wonderland" bounced back slightly after hitting a series low last week, rising one-tenth to a 0.9.

Fox saw "American Idol" shrink a bit in its new half-hour format, slipping one-tenth from its series low a week ago to an even lower 1.9 average in adults 18-49. Leading out from "Idol" the new series "Surviving Jack" got off to a soft launch with a 1.3.

Fox's "Hell's Kitchen" pulled a 1.8 in viewers 18-49, the same as last week.

Fourth-place NBC aired mostly repeats, with a fresh installment of "Parenthood" managing a 1.4 average in 18-49, up one-tenth from a week ago.

For prime time overall, CBS's 2.5 average led the way in the 18-49 demo, followed by ABC (2.2 average), Fox (1.7), NBC (1.2) and Univision (1.0). CBS also led total viewers, averaging 7.8 million to rank ahead of ABC (6.8 million), Fox (5.9 million), NBC (4.3 million) and Univision (2.6 million).

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