- Associated Press - Tuesday, March 29, 2016

NEW YORK (AP) - College basketball’s March Madness is lifting CBS and its cable partner TBS in the television ratings.

CBS’ telecast of the Villanova-Kansas matchup to decide a place in the Final Four brought 11.6 million people to CBS on Saturday, typically a quiet night for broadcast television. TBS brought in 10.1 million people on Sunday for the men’s game between North Carolina and Notre Dame.

TBS broke the stranglehold that the news networks have had in the ratings lately as the top cable network for the week. Since TBS will also show the Final Four semifinals and men’s championship game within the next week, it should continue benefiting from an influx in viewers.

Television’s most popular show last week was a familiar one - CBS’ “NCIS” drama, with its New Orleans spinoff finishing second.

CBS averaged 8.4 million viewers in prime time last week. ABC (5.57 million) and NBC (5.56 million) finished in a virtual tie for second. Fox had 3.1 million viewers, Univision had 1.8 million, the CW had 1.26 million, ION Television had 1.25 million and Telemundo had 1.1 million.

TBS averaged 3.89 million viewers in prime time. Fox News channel had 2.1 million viewers, HGTV had 1.75 million, USA had 1.7 million and AMC had 1.59 million.

NBC’s “Nightly News” topped the evening newscasts with an average of 8.5 million viewers. ABC’s “World News” was second with 8.2 million and the “CBS Evening News” had 7.1 million viewers.

For the week of March 21-27, the top 10 shows, their networks and viewerships: “NCIS,” CBS, 15.9 million; “NCIS: New Orleans,” CBS, 13.38 million; “Dancing With the Stars,” ABC, 12.46 million; “The Walking Dead,” AMC, 12.38 million; NCAA Basketball: Villanova vs. Kansas, CBS, 11.56 million; “The Voice” (Monday), NBC, 11.22 million; “Criminal Minds,” CBS, 10.95 million; “The Voice (Tuesday), NBC, 10.76 million; “Little Big Shots,” NBC, 10.57 million; NCAA Basketball: North Carolina vs. Notre Dame, TBS, 10.11 million.

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ABC is owned by The Walt Disney Co. CBS is owned by CBS Corp. CW is a joint venture of Warner Bros. Entertainment and CBS Corp. Fox is owned by 21st Century Fox. NBC and Telemundo are owned by Comcast Corp. ION Television is owned by ION Media Networks.

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Online: https://www.nielsen.com

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