MINNEAPOLIS (AdAge.com) -- College basketball players and a high-schooler-turned-pro advanced CBS in Sunday's broadcast brackets, as an overrun of the NCAA basketball tournament and a "60 Minutes" profile of LeBron James helped the network net a 3.1/8 rating and share in the ad-centric 18-to-49 demographic, ahead of ABC (2.8/7), Fox (2.6/7), NBC (2.5/7) and the CW (.4/1).
With last night's results based on Nielsen fast-affiliate data (final live-plus-same-day data will be released tomorrow), all ratings are approximate on the half hour, as the NCAA overrun went to 7:17 p.m. But based on that, basketball scored about a 3.6/11, followed by "60 Minutes" (3.5/10), "Amazing Race" (3.4/8), "Cold Case" (2.7/7) and the first portion of "The Unit" (2.3/6).
ABC's second-place finish was most likely due to the network's missing its star players, original episodes of "Desperate Housewives" and "Brothers & Sisters." Instead, a "Desperate" rerun ran in the 10 p.m. time slot usually occupied by "Brothers & Sisters," delivering a 2.1/5, only 38% of its original-episode season average. "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition," however, held its average and built a sturdy 3.5/9 for a two-hour episode. "America's Funniest Home Videos" was slightly above its average and captured a 2.3/7, good for second in prime time's first hour.
Some of Fox's younger male viewers were probably watching CBS's hoops and news magazine, as first-hour repeats of "American Dad" (1.1/3) and "King of the Hill" (1.4/4) led into 8 p.m.'s "The Simpsons" (3.1/9), which was off 14%. But an 8:30 p.m. "Simpsons" rerun (3.1/8) held its lead-in and "Family Guy" (4.2/10) and "American Dad (3.0/7) held their season averages.
NBC's money player, Donald Trump, rebounded slightly, as his "Celebrity Apprentice" (3.3/8) took advantage of ABC's reruns and was up 10% from last week en route to its best week since its premiere a month ago. Lead-in "Kings" also stabilized at last week's 1.3/3. But 7 p.m.'s "Dateline" (2.2/7) was up 47% from its time-slot average, as perhaps it wasn't hurt by but benefited from regular "60 Minutes" viewers switching to "Dateline" due to hoops.
The CW, while continuing to play in the broadcast league, looked like Division III up against the Final Four teams, as "Jericho" (.2/1) led into 1983 theatrical "War Games" (.4/1).
WHAT TO WATCH:
Monday: "Drinking the Kool-Aid" has become popular vernacular to describe toeing the company line. The etymology of the phrase, however, is tragic and chilling, and is the subject of 2007's "Jonestown: The Life and Death of the People's Temple" on PBS's "American Experience."
Tuesday: OK, time to lighten up. Fox's program premiere of a different kind of American experience, another reality show with the family that put the fun in dysfunction: "The Osbornes: Reloaded," starring Ozzy, Sharon and their often moody brood.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR:
Whatever people watch, it will be an original episode, as on a rare night, there are no 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.