The NCAA men’s basketball championship delivered a big audience for CBS on Monday night — just not quite as big as the last time the network had the championship game.
Virginia’s overtime victory over Texas Tech scored a 12.4 household rating in metered markets, a 20 percent improvement on last year’s title contest on TBS (10.3). Compared with the last CBS broadcast of the championship in 2017, however, Monday’s preliminary rating is down 14.5 percent.
In the finals, the title game averaged 19.63 million viewers, along with a 5.3 rating among adults 18-49. That’s a 23 percent jump over last year’s final on TBS, which drew just under 16 million viewers, but down 15 percent from the 23 million who watched the 2017 championship game on CBS.
Saturday’s Final Four on CBS followed a similar pattern: The two games averaged 14.4 million viewers, up 10 percent over TBS’ coverage last year (13.12 million) but down 14 percent from the 16.75 million CBS drew in 2017. The tournament as a whole should end up ahead of last year’s ratings.
Elsewhere Monday, The Voice led the non-sports offerings, but the NBC singing competition fell to a 1.2 rating among adults 18-49, tying a series low. The Enemy Within also declined to a season-low 0.6.
On ABC, American Idol drew a 1.0, tying its series low (adjusting up to 1.1 in the finals), while The Fix (0.5) equaled its numbers from a week ago. The CW’s Legends of Tomorrow matched its preliminary 0.3 from last week (it adjusted down in the finals) ahead of an Arrow rerun. Fox aired repeats of The Resident and 911.
CBS coasted to a victory for the night with a 3.6 rating in the 18-49 demographic, pending updates for its live broadcast. NBC’s 1.0 edged ABC’s 0.9 for second. Fox averaged 0.5 and The CW 0.2.
April 9, 1:40 p.m. Updated with final ratings for the NCAA championship game and American Idol.
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