TV Ratings: March Madness Steals 'American Idol' Thunder

After ceding a lot of ground to The Voice during its second episode this past Monday, American Idol's second go on ABC took a significant drop from its launch a week ago on the new network.

The second Sunday outing of ABC's new take on the former Fox series averaged 7.7 million viewers and a 1.8 rating among adults 18-49 — post-premiere slips of a respective 26 and 24 percent. Compared to its first Monday outing, the show was down incrementally among viewers but steady in the demo. The first episode of American Idol posted decent time-shifting growth, climbing to a 2.7 rating in the key demo and 11.8 million viewers with three days of extra viewing.

ABC drama Deception was down by slightly larger margins from its premiere, coming in with a 0.9 rating in the key demo and 4.2 million viewers.

Not helping American Idol was CBS' dominant coverage of NCAA Basketball. March Madness in full swing, overnight returns (prior to time zone adjustments) have basketball poised to top all other coverage for the night with a 8.5 overnight rating among metered market households at the top of primetime. That leaves the game easily poised to average upwards of 14 million viewers. (Fast Affiliate returns from Nielsen, very tentative scores, give the overage a night-winning 2.9 rating among adults 18-49.)

CBS' March Madness coverage offered an enviable platform for the rest of the evening, which included a new 60 Minutes and the launch of midseason drama Instinct, both set to surpass Idol among total viewers. Instinct didn't fare quite as well among younger viewers, though it will likely end up performing in the vicinity of NBC's pairing of Little Big Shots and Genius Junior.

As for NBC, the network launched Genius Junior to a modest 1.0 rating among adults 18-49 and a respectable 5.1 million viewers. It held a solid amount of its Little Big Shots lead-in, which averaged a 1.1 rating among adults 18-49 and was even with its last finale, though it's clear that series' heyday is behind it.

On Fox, Brooklyn Nine-Nine returned to Sundays with a steady 0.9 rating among adults 18-49. It was joined by new episodes of Bob's Burgers (0.7 adults), The Simpsons (0.8 adults), Family Guy (1.0 adults) an The Last Man on Earth (0.7 adults).