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March Madness gives ‘60 Minutes’ a ratings boost, ‘Luther’ movie still No. 1 on Netflix

Idris Elba in "Luther: The Fallen Sun" on Netflix.
Idris Elba in “Luther: The Fallen Sun” on Netflix.

(Netflix)
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The NCAA men’s basketball tournament helped “60 Minutes” draw its largest audience since Jan. 8 as CBS finished first in the network race for the sixth time in eight weeks.

The news magazine was the top ranked prime-time program between March 13 and Sunday, averaging 8.261 million viewers for a broadcast with a two-part report on the state of the U.S. Navy and a profile of billionaire businessman Rocco Commisso, owner of the Italian soccer team ACF Fiorentina, according to live-plus-same-day figures released by Nielsen on Tuesday.

“60 Minutes” followed a 39-minute overrun of CBS’ afternoon coverage of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament in the Eastern and Central time zones.

The Jan. 8 edition of “60 Minutes” averaged a season-high 11.215 million viewers for Prince Harry’s first American television interview in connection with the release of his memoir “Spare.”

The only two other prime-time programs to average more than 7 million viewers also aired on CBS — “NCIS,” second for the week averaging 7.187 million viewers and “FBI,” third averaging 7.164 million.

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CBS had 11 of the top 12 prime-time programs and averaged 5.15 million viewers. Those included the highest rated prime-time sporting event, Texas’ 71-66 victory over Penn State in a second-round NCAA men’s basketball game Saturday, fifth for the week, averaging 6.631 million viewers; the top rated comedy “The Neighborhood,” eighth averaging 5.534 million viewers; the ratings leader for programs beginning at 10 p.m., “NCIS: Hawai’i,” ninth, averaging 5.153 million viewers; and the most popular first-season program, the police drama, “East New York,” 15th, averaging 4.745 million.

The only times CBS has not finished first in the last eight weeks were the weeks of Feb. 6-13 when Fox aired Super Bowl LVII and March 6-12 when ABC aired the Oscars.

NBC finished second, averaging 2.94 million viewers. It had the leading non-CBS program, the March 13 edition of “The Voice,” which was fourth for the week averaging 6.99 million viewers.

ABC was third, averaging 2.85 million viewers, with “American Idol” leading its lineup for the fourth time in the five weeks it has aired this season, averaging 4.884 million viewers, 14th for the week. The only interruption to that streak was the week that ABC aired the Oscars.

Fox averaged 2.21 million viewers. The procedural drama “9-1-1” was its top program for the second consecutive week, finishing 17th, averaging 4.381 million viewers.

The CW averaged 470,000 viewers. The third season premiere of the superhero drama “Superman & Lois” was its biggest draw averaging 747,000 viewers, 145th among broadcast programs. Its overall ranking was not available.

The CW aired the week’s only premiere on the five major English-language broadcast networks, the superhero drama about Gotham City after Bruce Wayne’s killing, “Gotham Knights,” which was second among CW programs and 167th among broadcast programs, averaging 609,000 viewers following “Superman & Lois.”

The top 20 prime-time programs consisted of nine CBS scripted programs, its news magazine “60 Minutes” and its alternative series “Survivor”; two editions of the NBC singing competition, “The Voice”; one NCAA men’s basketball tournament game each on CBS and TNT; three ABC programs — the alternative programs “American Idol” and “America’s Funniest Home Videos” and the scripted firefighters drama “Station 19” — and two Fox programs, “9-1-1” and the singing competition, “The Masked Singer.”

The highest rated cable program was TNT’s coverage of Fairleigh Dickinson’s 63-58 victory over Purdue on Friday, when Fairleigh Dickinson became the second 16th-seeded team in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament to defeat a No. 1 seed. The game averaged 4.371 million viewers, 18th for the week.

Fox News Channel won the cable network battle in prime-time for the eighth consecutive week, averaging 1.949 million viewers.

TNT was second, averaging 1.866 million viewers, TBS third, averaging 1.761 million and truTV fourth, averaging 1.125 million viewers. All three networks broadcast NCAA men’s basketball tournament games.

MSNBC was the other cable network to average more than 1 million viewers for its prime-time programming, averaging 1.078 million.

The cable top 20 consisted of nine NCAA men’s basketball tournament games and three tournament studio shows; six Fox News Channel weeknight political talk shows (four broadcasts of “Tucker Carlson Tonight” and two of “Hannity”); History’s “The Curse of Oak Island”; and the MSNBC news and opinion program, “The Rachel Maddow Show.”

“The Glory” was Netflix’s most-streamed program for the second consecutive week, with viewers spending 123.59 million hours watching the 16 episodes of the South Korean revenge thriller, including the second eight episodes of the first season that were released March 10. Viewership dropped less than 1% from the 124.46 million hours watched the previous week.

“Luther: The Fallen Sun” was Netflix’s most popular movie for the second consecutive week, with viewers watching the continuation of the BBC psychological crime thriller for 69.54 million hours, 5.5% more than the 65.92 million hours watched the previous week when it was available for three days.

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