Drama Series Sinks to Historic Low on Another Tough Night for Broadcast

Mar 25, 2013  •  Post A Comment

The broadcast networks continued to struggle to find viewers Sunday night, with the overrun of CBS’s coverage of the March Madness NCAA men’s basketball tournament helping to push the network to a comfortable win for the night, based on preliminary Nielsen numbers.

TVbytheNumbers.com reports that CBS’s first hour of prime time, filled by basketball overrun and “60 Minutes” delivered a 3.4 average in the key 18-49 demo, well ahead of anything else on the broadcast networks Sunday night.

On ABC, meanwhile, the ratings erosion continued for “Once Upon a Time,” which lost two-tenths of a ratings point in viewers 18-49 to slip to an all-time low 2.1. ABC’s “Revenge” held steady with a 1.8, while ratings-challenged “Red Widow” showed signs of life, bouncing back from a 1.0 last week to a 1.2, the best number for the series since its premiere.

Fox opened with 90 minutes of repeats, followed by fresh installments of “Bob’s Burgers” (1.7 average in 18-49, even with last week), “Family Guy” (2.6, up two-tenths) and “American Dad” (2.3, up four-tenths from its previous original episode).

NBC’s night of two-hour programs failed to turn the network’s ratings fortunes around. The two-hour “Dateline” set a season low with a 1.1 in the 18-49 demo, off two-tenths from last week, and the two-hour “Celebrity Apprentice” lost three-tenths to a 1.5, also a season low.

CBS’s start times were impacted all night by the NCAA overrun, and its numbers are subject to more than the usual adjustments due to the live basketball coverage. The network recorded a 2.4 average rating in the 8 p.m. hour in adults 18-49 with the combination of “60 Minutes” and “The Amazing Race”; a 2.0 at 9 p.m. (“The Amazing Race”/”The Good Wife”); and a 1.6 at 10 p.m. (“The Good Wife”/”The Mentalist”).

CBS coasted to a win for prime time overall with a 2.4 average rating in viewers 18-49, ahead of Fox (1.7), ABC (1.6) and NBC (1.3). CBS also scored a big win in total viewers, averaging 10.1 million to ABC’s 6.2 million, NBC’s 5.6 million and Fox’s 3.6 million.

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