Duke coach’s swan song at NCAA semis draws large TV viewership

Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski
Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski’s final game in the NCAA men’s basketball semifinals topped last week’s ratings.
(David J. Phillip / Associated Press)

The final game of Mike Krzyzewski’s 42-season career as Duke’s men’s basketball coach drew the largest audience for an NCAA national semifinal game since 2017.

The TBS, TNT and TruTV simulcast of the Blue Devils’ 81-77 loss to the North Carolina Tar Heels on Saturday averaged 17.663 million viewers, the most for a national semifinal since 2017 averaged 18.825 million viewers on CBS, according to live-plus-same-day figures released by Nielsen on Tuesday. That was the largest audience for a prime-time program since NBC’s post-Super Bowl Winter Olympics coverage Feb. 13 averaged 21.277 million viewers.

The 25-minute pregame coverage of the Duke-North Carolina game was second among prime-time programs between March 28 and Sunday, averaging 12.299 million viewers.


CBS’ coverage of the Grammys drew the second-smallest Grammy Award audience on record, 9.587 million viewers. Viewership for Sunday’s ceremony in Las Vegas was 3.1% higher than last year’s record-low 9.297 million.

The only Grammy ceremonies on record to average fewer than 17 million viewers have come in the past two years. Figures are available dating back to 1977. The record audience for the Grammys was in 1984 when it averaged 51.671 million when Michael Jackson won a record eight awards.

CBS had each of the 11 top ranked non-sports programs to finish first for the sixth time in the six weeks following NBC’s coverage of the Winter Olympics and 12th time in the 28-week-old 2021-22 television season, averaging 5.34 million viewers.

ABC finished second for the sixth consecutive week, averaging 3.17 million viewers. Its two top programs were the Monday and Sunday editions of “American Idol,” 14th and 20th for the week, averaging 5.657 million and 4.892 million viewers.

NBC was third among the broadcast networks and fourth overall, also trailing Fox News Channel, averaging 2.35 million viewers. With NBC airing reruns of its three “Chicago” series for the second consecutive week, its top ranked program for the second consecutive week was the family drama “This Is Us,” 27th for the week, averaging 4.211 million viewers.

Fox averaged 2.12 million viewers, topped for the second consecutive week by the procedural drama “9-1-1,” 19th for the week averaging 4.967 million viewers.


The CW averaged 460,000. The crime drama “Walker” was its ratings leader for the eighth time in its 12 episodes this season, averaging 961,000 viewers for its first original episode since March 10.

The only premiere on the five major English-language broadcast networks, the CBS comedy “How We Roll” was first in its 9:30-10 p.m. Thursday time slot and 26th for the week, averaging 4.219 million viewers, retaining 67.7% of the audience of “Ghosts” which preceded it. “Ghosts” was ninth for the week, averaging 6.232 million viewers.

The 20 most watched prime-time programs consisted of the Duke-North Carolina NCAA tournament game and its pregame show; two episodes of the ABC singing competition “American Idol” ; Fox’s “9-1-1” and 15 CBS programs — 11 scripted shows, the news magazine “60 Minutes,” the unscripted series “Survivor,” the Grammys and the final 38 minutes of the Grammys which Nielsen considers a separate program.

Fox News Channel returned to the top of the cable ranking after a one-week absence, averaging 2.495 million viewers, its 10th first-place finish in 11 weeks. TBS was second, averaging 1.991 million viewers and ESPN third, averaging 1.672 million.

The cable top 20 consisted of the Duke-North Carolina basketball game and its pregame show; two NCAA women’s basketball tournament games on ESPN; 14 Fox News Channel political talk shows — five broadcasts each of “Tucker Carlson Tonight” and “Hannity” and four of “The Ingraham Angle”; History’s long-running chronicle of a search for treasure on a Canadian island, “The Curse of Oak Island”; and the TLC series about couples who have built a relationship online but not met in person, “90 Day Fiancé: Before the 90 Days.”

Viewers spent 251.74 million hours watching the eight-episode second season of “Bridgerton” on Netflix in its first full week of release, setting a record for the most-viewed title on the English-language television list, according to figures released by the streaming service.

The eight-episode first season of the steamy alternative history period drama was the second most-streamed English-language program on Netflix with 53.02 million hours watched, 64.3% more than the 32.28 million hours watched the previous week when it was the service’s third most-watched English-language program.


The science fiction action film “The Adam Project” was Netflix’s most-watched English-language movie for the fourth time in its four weeks of release with 17.72 million hours watched, 44.1% less than the 31.7 million hours watched the previous week.