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Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Fri.-Sun., March 22-24) -- NCAA hoops dunks NASCAR

Buoyed by close games, marquee teams and trips to the Sweet 16, CBS’ Sunday NCAA hoops coverage out-raced Fox’s competing NASCAR go-around.

The three games, climaxing with Kansas-North Carolina, pushed 60 Minutes’ starting time back to about 6:40 p.m. Audiences peaked between 3:45 and 4 p.m. and 6:15 and 6:30 p.m., when basketball averaged 220,294 D-FW viewers. NASCAR’s biggest crowd came between 5:15 and 5:30 p.m., when 206,526 watched. Another post-race scuffle ensued after a slam-bang finish.

Basketball for the most part also had the edge with advertiser-prized 18-to-49-year-olds, although NASCAR won in a few 15-minute increments. But Sunday’s 18-to-49 monster again was AMC’s The Walking Dead. It lured 175,417 viewers in this key demographic, doubling the haul of any competing program in the 8 to 9 p.m. slot.

Among the Big Four broadcast networks, though, NBC’s All-Star Celebrity Apprentice continued to run strong. It commanded the 8 to 10 p.m. slot with 18-to-49-year-olds opposite the prime-time fare on ABC, CBS and Fox.

CBS’ NCAA basketball coverage was Saturday’s most-watched attraction in both ratings measurements. But Friday’s prime-time hoops took a bad whipping. ABC’s 7 to 8 p.m. season finales of Last Man Standing and Malibu Country led the way with 137,684 viewers each.

Fox’s Hell’s Kitchen helped itself to Friday night’s biggest 18-to-49 haul while hoops ran fourth in total viewers and third overall in TV’s key demographic. (NBC’s Grimm took the bronze from 8 to 9 p.m., but basketball beat the Peacock’s Fashion Star and Rock Center with Brian Williams among 18-to-49-year-olds.)

Fox4 muscled up in Friday’s local news derby results, winning at 6 a.m. and at 5, 6 and 10 p.m. with 25-to-54-year-olds, the main advertiser target audience for news programming. The station also added 6 a.m. and 5 p.m. wins in total viewers.

WFAA8 had the other golds, running first at 6 and 10 p.m. in total viewers. CBS11’s 6 and 10 p.m. editions were preempted by basketball.
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