MINNEAPOLIS (AdAge.com) -- President Barack Obama and his favorite sport double-teamed in the first two hours of prime time last night as CBS's NCAA basketball overrun coverage and Mr. Obama's interview on "60 Minutes" combined to beat ABC in a buzzer-beater.
CBS won Sunday's ratings race with an overall 3.5/9 rating and share in the ad-centric 18-to-49 demographic (all based on Nielsen fast-affiliate data). ABC was just behind with a 3.4/9, as it dominated the demo in the second half of prime time with "Desperate Housewives" (4.9/12) and "Brothers & Sisters" (3.5/9).
Final live-plus-same-day data released Tuesday will indicate if the preliminary "60 Minutes" (4.1/11) surge of 37% holds, but it was only slightly down from the 4.4/14 for basketball. Early estimates for the time-shifted "Amazing Race" (3.2/8) and "Cold Case" (2.4/6) may also be adjusted, but overall it was a good night for the network.
ABC, however, ran in regular pattern, with "America's Funniest Home Videos" (1.9/6) and "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" (3.1/8) both off 14% against Barack and basketball.
Third-place Fox (2.4/6), probably recognizing the reality of its younger male target watching the hoops tournament, ran reruns of "American Dad" (.9/3) and "King of the Hill" (1.1/3) in the first hour of prime time. Fox followed with fresh episodes of its sitcoms, but most of the animated comedies seemed lifeless relative to their original-episode averages: "The Simpsons" (3.0/8) slipped 19%; "King of the Hill" (2.6/7) fell 13%; and "Family Guy" (3.7/9) tumbled 12%. But "American Dad" was off only 3%, to a 2.9/7.
NBC, meanwhile, counter-programmed hoop with hype (at least according to how the network's own "Saturday Night Live" mocks "Dateline," which delivered a 1.5/5). And instead of the president it was "Kings" (1.3/3), which fell 19% from its already low-ranked premiere last week. And Sunday's other self-appointed royalty, the Donald, saw "Celebrity Apprentice" (2.9/7) a 10th of a rating point ahead of last week but still 15% off its season average. Overall NBC finished fourth with a 2.1/6.
That left fifth place for the CW, which ran a schedule and had ratings results ("Jericho," theatrical "Mod Squad," both 0.3/1) more reflective of the NIT tournament instead of the NCAA.
WHAT TO WATCH:
Monday: Sunday's schedule and ratings results are an example of how much has gone wrong for the CW. Monday, conversely, shows what's worked well: "Gossip Girl" and "One Tree Hill," which both run original episodes. (Parental advisory: You may need your teens to explain it all to you.)
Tuesday: After a ratings rise for last week's "Tonight Show" on NBC and last night's "60 Minutes," this Obama guy may get his own show. He's back again with a presidential press conference at 8 p.m. on numerous networks.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR:
ABC's "Dancing With the Stars" may be a bit lighter on its feet knowing that formidable foes such as Fox's "House" and CBS's "How I Met Your Mother" and "Two and a Half Men" are repeats.
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NOTE: All ratings based on adults 18-49. A share is a percentage of adults 18-49 who have their TV sets on at a given time. A rating is a percentage of all adults 18-49, whether or not their sets are turned on. For example, a 1.0 rating is 1% of the total U.S. adults 18-49 population with TVs. Ratings quoted in this column are based on live-plus-same-day unless otherwise noted. (Many ad deals have been negotiated on the basis of commercial-minute, live-plus-three-days viewing.)
John Rash is senior VP-director of media analysis for Campbell Mithun, Minneapolis. For more, see rashreport.com.