Going to college pays off

CBS nets weekly win in viewers

Fox won last week's primetime in adults 18-49, but college basketball put CBS over the top in viewers despite the "American Idol" juggernaut and ABC's "Dancing With the Stars."

Two shots of "Idol" and "House" plus "Dancing" and "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation" were the biggest things on TV during the week ending April 1, according to data released Tuesday by Nielsen Media Research. "Grey's Anatomy" and "Desperate Housewives" were in repeats.

Monday went to ABC with "Dancing" (20.4 million, 5.9 rating/15 share in adults 18-49), which in a two-hour show trampled everything else, including Fox's "Prison Break" (8.2 million, 3.5/10) and "24" (12.2 million, 4.2/10) and a special 9 p.m. "Deal or No Deal" (12.2 million, 4.2/10) on NBC.

Fox staved off a challenge from ABC to take Tuesday, with "Idol" (28.2 million, 11.0/30) cruising at 8 p.m. and "House" (20.8 million, 9.0/23) prevailing over the results show for "Dancing" (17.9 million, 4.5/11). NBC's "Law & Order: SVU" (12.9 million, 4.3/12) won at 10 p.m.

There wasn't much competition Wednesday, with Fox victorious at 8 p.m. with "Bones" (10.6 million, 3.7/11) and "Idol" (26.9 million, 10.9/28). "Idol" continued to do good things for " 'Til Death" (14.5 million, 6.3/16), which appears to have been rescued from the dead. "Lost" (11.5 million, 5.1/14) won at 10 p.m. while facing a repeat "CSI: NY."

CBS won in a walk Thursday, with "Survivor: Fiji" (13.7 million, 4.5/14), "CSI" (22.7 million, 7.2/19) and "Shark" (14.5 million, 4.1/12) taking all three hours against mostly repeats. Fox's "Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?" (10.6 million, 3.7/11) came in a solid second at 8 p.m., but the "October Road" (8.2 million, 3.5/10) got rockier at 10 p.m. with the ABC drama without a new "Grey's" as a lead-in.

CBS captured Friday with "Ghost Whisperer" (9.4 million, 2.7/10) winning at 8 p.m.; "Close to Home" (9.6 million, 2.3/8) prevailing at 9 p.m. against Fox's "Wedding Bells" (4.4 million, 1.4/5), NBC's "Raines" (7 million, 1.9/6) and ABC's "Six Degrees" (3.1 million, 1.1/4); and "Numbers" (10.7 million, 2.9/9) topping NBC's "Law & Order" (7.5 million, 2.2/7) and ABC's "20/20" (5.8 million, 1.5/5).

Saturday was highlighted by the national semifinals of the NCAA men's basketball tournament, giving CBS another win, 14.4 million viewers and a 4.9/17 for the Florida-UCLA second game that began about 8:30 p.m. CBS won Sunday night as well with a 10 p.m. "Cold Case" (13.2 million, 3.5/9) beating ABC's "Brothers & Sisters" (9.1 million, 3.4/9) in the demo.

In the evening newscast race, NBC and ABC ran neck-and-neck in the adults 25-54 demo, while NBC pulled ahead for the week in viewership. "NBC Nightly News With Brian Williams" averaged 8.1 million viewers compared with 7.9 million for ABC's "World News With Charles Gibson" and 6.1 million for "CBS Evening News With Katie Couric." It was the lowest viewership for CBS since April 2005.

ABC and NBC each averaged a 2.0 rating in adults 25-54, while NBC averaged 10,000 more viewers than ABC. CBS was last with a 1.5 rating.

For the week, CBS averaged 11.3 million viewers and a 3.3/10 in the 18-49 demo, followed by Fox (10.4 million, 4.1/12), ABC (8.6 million, 2.8/8), NBC (7.3 million, 2.3/7), the CW (2.8 million, 1.1/3) and My Network TV (960,000, 0.4/1).