The NCAA basketball championship ratings inched up from last year's to give CBS a win for the night in the key demographic, according to preliminary numbers. ABC's "Dancing With the Stars" dropped 13 percent to match its low for a performance show, but ABC still had the most viewers for the night overall.
CBS was far and away the best-rated network of the night with an average 5.1 rating/13 share in the advertiser-coveted 18-49 demo, but took second place in total viewers, averaging 14.6 million. Following repeats of "2 Broke Girls" and "Two and a Half Men," the network aired the special "Prelude to a Championship" at 9, which posted a 4.4/11 in the demo and 13.2 million total viewers. The game between Kentucky and Kansas at 9:30 grew a modest 4 percent in the demo from last year's championship game, taking a 7.0/17. It had 19.3 million total viewers, and was the top-rated and most-watched program of the night.
NBC took second place in ratings and third place in total viewers with an average 3.4/9 in the demo and 9.1 million. "The Voice" at 8 dipped from last week, receiving a 4.1/11 in the demo and 10.7 million total viewers, while "Smash" at 10 inched up five percent in the demo from last week for a 2.2/5 with 6 million total viewers.
ABC came in third in ratings and second in total viewers with an average 2.6/7 and 15 million total viewers. "Dancing With the Stars" at 8 dropped 13 percent in the demo for a 2.8/7 in the demo and 16.5 million total viewers, while "Castle" at 10 posted a 2.2/5 and 12 million total viewers.
Fox came in fourth in ratings and total viewers with an average 2.4/6 and 7.5 million, despite modest growth for its primetime slate. The return of "Bones" at 8 was up slightly in the demo from its last original airing in January, drawing a 2.5/7 with 8.2 million total viewers. "House" at 9 also saw a small increase in the demo, posting a 2.2/6 with 6.7 million total viewers.