An absurdly perfect finish to the final Elite Eight game of March Madness — unless you’re a Kentucky fan — provided quite the boost to “60 Minutes” last night. The last-minute tie and subsequent last-second breaking of that tie, which handed the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill their fourth trip to the Final Four in the last 10 years, drew a massive crowd on Sunday night in Nielsen’s preliminary fast national numbers. From 7 to 7:30 p.m. (the game lasted a few minutes longer), the UNC-Kentucky game on CBS garnered a 5.3 rating in the 18-49 demographic and an average audience of 20.66 million. “60 Minutes” consequently drew its best numbers since the middle of the NFL season: A 2.7 rating in the demo and 14.89 million viewers, winning the night by a ridiculous margin.
After “60 Minutes,” “NCIS: Los Angeles” pulled in a 1.6 demo rating and 11.27 million viewers. “Madam Secretary” followed with a 1.1 in the demo and 8.46 million viewers. “Elementary” ticked up to a 0.8 in the demo and 5.37 million viewers. Because there was a few minutes of NCAA overrun, CBS’ numbers may adjust some in Nielsen’s final ratings.
NBC’s “Little Big Shots” averaged a 1.7 in the demo and 9.73 million viewers, up slightly from last week. “Chicago Justice” remained at a 1.0 and 5.79 million viewers. “Shades of Blue” also stayed steady with a 0.8 and 4.39 million viewers.
On Fox, two episodes of “Bob’s Burgers” reeled in a 0.8 and 0.9 in the demo, respectively, and audiences of 1.79 million and 1.88 million. “Making History” brought in a 0.7 and 1.59 million. “Family Guy” weighed in with a 1.1 and 2.36 million viewers. “Last Man on Earth” notched a 0.9 and 2.02 million viewers.
ABC’s “Once Upon a Time” ticked up slightly to a 0.9 demo rating and 2.95 million viewers. “Time After Time” trundled along to a 0.4 and 1.93 million viewers. “American Crime” dipped to a 0.3 and 1.62 million viewers.
As a reminder, daily ratings fluctuations tend to amount to mere quantum foam, and many of these series will see lifts of 50% or more once viewing within three and seven days is counted. However, most of those gains won’t translate to the ratings guarantees networks make advertisers.