Primetime Ratings: March Madness and Obama Give CBS Sunday Night Win

Interview with president makes ’60 Minutes’ most-watched show of the night

March Madness coverage followed by a 60 Minutes interview with President Obama in the White House gave CBS a powerhouse lineup that overthrew ABC for a Sunday night win.

NCAA men’s basketball gave CBS a wide lead in the 7 p.m. hour with a 4.4/14 rating and more than twice as many viewers (15.5 million to 7.1 million) than second-place ABC, which checked in at 1.9/6 with America’s Funniest Home Videos. NBC was third at 1.5/5 with Dateline. Fox finished fourth on the hour with re-runs of its comedy block, American Dad (0.9/3) and King of the Hill (1.1/3) at 7 and 7:30 respectively. A re-run of Jericho on the CW earned a 0.3/1.

CBS stayed on top at 8 p.m. with a 4./11 and 16.2 million total viewers with the end of their NCAA coverage and 60 Minutes. While the newsmagazine was second overall on the night in the 18-49 demo (behind Desperate Housewives), 60 Minutes was first on the night in household rating at 9.9/16. ABC finished second with Extreme Makeover: Home Edition earning a 3.1/8. Fox was next at 2.8/8 with The Simpsons (3.0/8) and a new episode of King of the Hill (2.6/7).  NBC’s new drama Kings struggled for a second week at 1.3/3.  The CW was fifth at 0.3/1 with the first hour of the its Sunday night movie, The Mod Squad.

At 9, ABC took the top spot with Housewives delivering a 4.9/12 and 14.7 million viewers. Fox moved up to second place with Family Guy (3.7/9) and American Dad (2.9/7) pulling a combined 3.3/8. CBS earned a 3.2/8 with Amazing Race. NBC was again in fourth at 2.5/6 with Celebrity Apprentice. The CW finished fifth with the second hour of Mod Squad at 0.3/1.

ABC held onto first in the 10 p.m. hour with Brothers & Sisters pulling 3.5/9. The second hour of Celebrity Apprentice got a 3.3/9. CBS was third at 2.4/6, but first in total viewers (10.8 million) with Cold Case and The Unit.  

Overall CBS edged it out with 3.5/9 topping ABC’s 3.4/9. Fox was third at 2.4/6 with NBC next at 2.1/6. The CW was fifth with a 0.3/1.