TV ratings: 'American Idol' falls but still rules Thursday, NCAA tournament down (at least on CBS)

idol-karen-eliminated-320.jpgFast National ratings for Thursday, March 17, 2011

"American Idol" led FOX to another win on Thursday night, but it was down a good amount from last week's results show. Elsewhere, the first full night of the NCAA tournament was off for CBS -- but with games also airing on three Turner cable channels, overall March Madness viewing was up over 2010.

FOX's 15.5 million viewers and 9.0 rating/18 share in households completely dominated the night, leading by almost 10 million viewers over second-place ABC (5.8 million, 3.6/6). CBS took third with 4.75 million viewers and a 3.1/5, although those numbers will likely change when final numbers for its live sports coverage come in. NBC (3.8 million, 2.4/4) came in fourth, and The CW trailed with 1.4 million viewers and a 0.9/2.

FOX also ruled the adults 18-49 demographic with a 4.5 rating. ABC was the best of the rest at 1.7, followed by CBS, 1.6, and NBC, 1.5. The CW posted a 0.5 in the demo.

Thursday hour by hour:

8 p.m.

FOX:
"American Idol" (19 million viewers, 11.0/19 households)
ABC: "Wipeout" (7.15 million, 3.9/7)
CBS: NCAA tournament (5.1 million, 3.3/6)
NBC: "Community" (4.2 million, 2.6/5)/"Perfect Couples" (2.9 million, 1.8/3)
The CW: "The Vampire Diaries" rerun (1.2 million, 0.8/1)

18-49 leader: "American Idol" (5.6)

9 p.m.

FOX:
"Bones" (11.9 million, 7.1/12)
ABC: "Private Practice" (6.1 million, 4.1/7)
CBS: NCAA tournament (5 million, 3.2/5)
NBC: "The Office" rerun (3.7 million, 2.3/4)/"Parks and Recreation" (4.1 million, 2.5/4)
The CW: "Nikita" rerun (1.5 million, 1.0/2)

18-49 leader: "Bones" (3.4)

10 p.m.

CBS:
NCAA tournament (4.15 million, 2.6/5)
ABC: "Off the Map" rerun (4.05 million, 2.6/5)
NBC: "30 Rock" (4.2 million, 2.7/5)/"Outsourced" (3.6 million, 2.4/4)

18-49 leader: "30 Rock" (1.7)

Ratings information includes live and same-day DVR viewing. All numbers are preliminary and subject to change, especially in the case of live telecasts. Source: The Nielsen Company.

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Photo/Video credit: FOX