8:25am PT by Michael O'Connell
TV Ratings: CBS' Stormy Sitdown Has '60 Minutes' at Decade High, Topping 22 Million Viewers
CBS ruled Sunday night, thanks to a hot-button 60 Minutes airing just after NCAA basketball.
The network's 60 Minutes sitdown with proclaimed one-time Donald Trump paramour Stormy Daniels reaped especially strong rewards, topping 22 million viewers with final adjustments. It easily ranks as the most-watched episode in nearly a decade, blowing past the recent high — a the post-election chat with Trump himself (20 million) in 2016.
The show got a late start, thanks to basketball, but it hardly hurt the heavily hyped segment. Anderson Cooper's interview nabbed close to 22.1 million viewers, a 5.3 rating among adults 25-54 and a 4.0 among adults 18-49 during the 37-minute-delayed broadcast. The late start time for 60 Minutes means there may still be some adjustments. At any rate, it's the most-watched episode of the venerable news magazine this season, and even approaches the memorable high of 2008 when nearly 25 million tuned in to see Barack Obama's first interview after being elected. (The highest-rated episode of the show's current and 50th season, for comparison, was the September opener. That earned 14.8 million viewers.)
It certainly got an assist from its lead-in. March Madness overage, Duke's overtime loss to Kansas, earned a tentative 5.9 rating among adults 18-49 and 24.6 million viewers during its final half-hour — a tentative score that also doesn't yet account for time zone adjustments for the live coverage.
Either way, it's a huge Sunday for CBS. All of the attention helped lift freshman drama Instinct (10.6 million viewers, 1.5 rating adults 18-49), NCIS: Los Angeles (1.1 adults) and Madam Secretary (0.7 adults).
Third-place status for the night went to American Idol. In its third Sunday outing since coming to ABC, the competition delivered a 1.7 rating in the key demo. Week-over-week, the show held steady. Newcomer Deception held at a 0.8 rating among adults 18-49.
Elsewhere, NBC had new episodes of Little Big Shots (1.0 adults), Genius Junior (0.9 adults) and Timeless (0.6 adults). On Fox, Bob's Burgers (0.8 adults), The Simpsons (1.0 adults), Brooklyn Nine-Nine (0.9 adults), Family Guy (0.9 adults) and Last Man on Earth (0.7 adults) all held steady.