A country music awards show, a series finale and the network's usually sturdy regular schedule led CBS to a dominant performance in the weekly television ratings competition.
Fourteen of the 20 most-watched programs last week were on CBS, the Nielsen said Tuesday. The comedy "The Big Bang Theory" led the way with 17.7 million viewers. Sunday's airing of the Academy of Country Music Awards drew 14.17 million viewers.
The series finale of "How I Met Your Mother" had a series high of 13.13 million viewers, but did little to boost the prospects of the show that debuted directly after it. Ensemble comedy "Friends With Better Lives" had 7.6 million viewers.
On Friday, normally a very light night for TV viewing, the CBS drama "Blue Bloods" continues to post strong numbers, with 11.7 million viewers and a top-10 showing. By contrast, NBC's "Hannibal" in the same time slot had 2.2 million viewers. NBC's gruesome drama is clearly aimed at a younger audience, many of whom have better things to do on a Friday night.
Missing from Nielsen's Top 20 list entirely was Fox's free-falling "American Idol." The Thursday edition of the show was seen by 7.7 million viewers.
CBS won the week in prime time with an average of 10 million viewers. ABC had 6.4 million, NBC had 5.7 million, Fox had 4 million, Univision had 2.8 million, Telemundo had 1.19 million, the CW had 1.18 million and ION Television had 1 million.
TBS, which aired the NCAA men's basketball semifinals, was easily the most popular cable network, averaging 2.93 million viewers in prime time. History had 1.98 million, USA had 1.89 million, the Disney Channel had 1.84 million and TNT had 1.69 million.
NBC's "Nightly News" topped the evening newscasts with an average of 8.6 million viewers. ABC's "World News" was second with 7.7 million and the "CBS Evening News" had 6.8 million viewers.
For the week of March 31-April 6, the top 10 shows, their networks and viewerships: "The Big Bang Theory," CBS, 17.73 million; "NCIS," CBS, 17.16 million; "NCIS: Los Angeles," CBS, 15.31 million; "American Academy of Country Music Awards," CBS, 14.17 million; "Dancing With the Stars," ABC, 14.1 million; "How I Met Your Mother," CBS, 13.13 million; "The Voice" (Monday), NBC, 12.28 million; "The Voice" (Tuesday), NBC, 11.93 million; "Blue Bloods," CBS, 11.69 million; "Person of Interest," CBS, 11.45 million.