NCAA Tournament gives ’60 Minutes’ a ratings bounce

A bald man in a gray suit and lavender tie stands speaking into a microphone
CBS’ “60 Minutes” featured a profile of basketball analyst Charles Barkley.
(Chris Pizzello / Invision/AP)

The episode of “60 Minutes” that followed Sunday’s NCAA men’s basketball tournament was the top-ranked prime-time program, its second consecutive win, scoring 9.291 million viewers, its largest audience since Jan. 8.

The CBS newsmagazine — consisting of reports on advancements in artificial prosthetics technology; newsletter authors Ina and David Steiner, who were stalked and harassed by eBay employees; and a profile of basketball analyst Charles Barkley — followed a 39-minute runover of the network’s coverage of Miami’s 88-81 victory over Texas in the Midwest Regional final in the Eastern and Central time zones.

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


The only other prime-time programs between March 20 and Sunday to average more than 7 million viewers also had ties to the college basketball tournament, according to live-plus-same-day figures released Tuesday by Nielsen.

TBS’ coverage of Connecticut’s 82-54 rout of Gonzaga in Saturday’s West Regional final averaged 7.985 million viewers, and the 12-minute bridge show that preceded it and followed Florida Atlantic’s 79-76 victory over Kansas State in the East Regional final averaged 7.674 million viewers.

CBS finished first for the seventh time in nine weeks, averaging 4.88 million viewers. It aired 10 of the week’s top 17 programs, including the highest-rated scripted program, “The Equalizer,” fourth for the week, averaging 6.831 million viewers; the top-ranked comedy, “The Neighborhood,” 10th for the week, averaging 5.679 million viewers; the most popular first-season program, police drama “East New York,” 15th, averaging 5.114 million; and the ratings leader for programs beginning at 10 p.m., “NCIS: Hawai’i,” 17th, averaging 4.982 million viewers.

The only times CBS has not finished first in the past nine weeks were the weeks of Feb. 6, when Fox aired Super Bowl LVII, and March 6, when ABC aired the Oscars.

NBC was second for the second consecutive week, averaging 3.36 million viewers. “Chicago Fire” was its highest-rated program, finishing fifth for the week, averaging 6.777 million viewers.

ABC was third among the broadcast networks for the second consecutive week, averaging 2.84 million viewers. “American Idol” was ABC’s ratings leader program for the fifth time in the six weeks it has aired this season, finishing 11th, averaging 5.253 million viewers. The only interruption to the streak was the week that ABC aired the Oscars.


Fox averaged 2.04 million viewers. The procedural drama “9-1-1” topped its ratings for the third consecutive week, finishing 24th, averaging 4.414 million viewers.

The CW averaged 430,000 viewers. The crime drama “Walker” was its biggest draw, averaging 672,000 viewers, tying for 150th among broadcast programs with the 8 p.m. March 20 episode of the 1960-68 CBS comedy “The Andy Griffith Show” on MeTV.

The top 20 prime-time programs consisted of six CBS scripted programs, “60 Minutes” and alternative series “Survivor”; four NCAA men’s basketball tournament games — three on CBS and one on TBS; two NCAA men’s basketball studio shows — one each on TBS and CBS; five NBC programs — the scripted programs “Chicago Fire,” “Chicago Med” and “Chicago P.D.” and the two editions of its singing competition “The Voice”; and the ABC singing competition “American Idol.”

Cable rankings were topped by TBS’ coverage of the Connecticut-Gonzaga NCAA men’s basketball tournament game, which averaged 7.985 million viewers, second overall.

TBS’ NCAA tournament coverage enabled it to end Fox News Channel’s eight-week streak at the top of the cable ratings, averaging 3.078 million. Fox News Channel finished second, averaging 2.023 million, and ESPN third, averaging 1.201 million.

MSNBC was the only other cable network to average more than 1 million viewers for its prime-time programming, averaging 1.183 million.


The cable top 20 consisted of three NCAA men’s basketball tournament games and three tournament studio shows on TBS; 11 Fox News Channel weeknight political talk shows (five broadcasts of “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” four of “Hannity” and two of “The Ingraham Angle”); Fox Sports 1’s coverage of the Japan-United States World Baseball Classic championship game; the MSNBC news and opinion program “The Rachel Maddow Show”; and ESPN’s coverage of Sunday’s Iowa-Louisville NCAA women’s basketball tournament Elite Eight game.

Sunday’s season premiere of “Succession” garnered a series-high 2.3 million viewers across HBO Max and cable telecasts, according to a statement from the streaming service’s parent company, Warner Bros. Discovery.

“The Night Agent” was Netflix’s most-streamed title, with viewers watching the 10-episode action thriller for 168.71 million hours during the first four days it was available, according to figures released by the streaming service Tuesday.

The second season of “Shadow and Bone” was second with 55.03 million hours watched of the fantasy’s eight episodes in their first full week of release, 9.2% more than the 50.4 million hours the previous week when they were available for four days.

“The Glory” was third after back-to-back first-place finishes with 48.35 million hours for the 16 episodes of the South Korean revenge thriller, 60.9% less than the 123.59 million hours the previous week, the first full week its second eight episodes were available.

“Luther: The Fallen Sun” was Netflix’s most popular movie for the third consecutive week, despite a 64.5% drop in viewership from the previous week. Viewers spent 24.7 million hours watching the continuation of the BBC psychological crime thriller in its second full week of release. “Luther: The Fallen Sun” was watched for 69.54 million hours the previous week and 65.92 million hours the week of March 6-12 when it was available for three days.


The animated children’s movie “The Magician’s Elephant” rose one spot to second with 16.73 million hours watched, a 22.2% increase over the 13.69 million hours watched the previous week when it was available for three days.