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TV Ratings: March Madness Wreaks Havoc, ‘Little Big Shots’ Gets a Little Less Big

Variety logo Variety 3/20/2017 Oriana Schwindt
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March Madness took over Sunday night television.

Buoyed by a hoops overrun — Kansas’ 90-70 drubbing of Michigan State to head to the Sweet 16 pushed CBS’ schedule back about 35 minutes in the Eastern and Central time zones — CBS was the winner for the night in the 18-49 demographic and total viewers. That 35 minutes of the NCAA tournament in Sunday primetime (which starts at 7 p.m.) notched a 3.5 in the demo and drew an average audience of 13.18 million in Nielsen’s preliminary fast national numbers. That lead-in boosted “60 Minutes” to a 1.7 demo rating and an average audience of 10.58 million (last week’s installment, which didn’t come out of sports overrun, drew a 1.2 and 9.97 million viewers). “NCIS: Los Angeles” brought in a 1.2 and 8.99 million viewers. “Madam Secretary” drew a 0.8 in the demo and 7.22 million viewers. “Elementary” came in with a 0.6 and 4.37 million viewers.

Little Big Shots” drew a 1.5 demo rating for NBC, down a couple ticks from the previous week, and an average audience of 9.32 million. “Chicago Justice” also ticked down slightly to a 1.0 in the demo and 5.7 million viewers. “Shades of Blue,” just renewed for a third season, stayed steady with a 0.8 and 4.12 million viewers.

A new “Bob’s Burgers” on Fox notched a 0.8 in the demo and 1.95 million viewers. “The Simpsons” followed with a 1.0 and 2.34 million. “Making History” stayed steady at a 0.7 in the demo and 1.57 million viewers. “Family Guy” ruled the Fox roost with a 1.1 demo rating and 2.37 million viewers. “Last Man on Earth” also held steady with a 0.8 and 1.95 million viewers.

ABC’s “Once Upon a Time” dipped to a 0.8 in the demo and 2.72 million viewers. “Time After Time” sunk to a 0.4 in the demo and 1.78 million viewers on the whole. “American Crime” matched that demo rating, but pulled in a slightly larger audience of 1.88 million.

As a reminder, daily ratings fluctuations tend to amount to mere quantum foam, and many of these series will see lifts of 50% or more once viewing within three and seven days is counted. However, most of those gains won’t translate to the ratings guarantees networks make advertisers.

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