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Move To Cable Sparks Major Audience Loss For NCAA Championship Game; A Rundown of Last Week’s Nielsens
In this April 7, 2016 file photo, Dalton Rapattoni, from left, Sonika Vaid, Avalon Young, Mackenzie Bourg, Olivia Rox, Gianna Isabella, Lee Jean, Paula Abdul, Randy Jackson, and Ryan Seacrest appear at the "American Idol" farewell season finale in Los Angeles. Although CBS was the most popular broadcast network last week, Fox earned a win in the coveted 18-to-49-year-old demographic by showing the final two episodes of "American Idol." (Photo by Matt Sayles/Invision/AP, FIle)
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Compared to last year, Jim Nantz lost more than half his audience with the NCAA men’s basketball championship game’s move from CBS to cable television’s TBS.

Just under 13.9 million people watched Villanova’s last-second victory over North Carolina on TBS last week, which used the CBS basketball crew of Nantz, Grant Hill and Bill Raftery, the Nielsen company said. The 2015 final between Duke and Wisconsin, shown on CBS, had 28.3 million viewers.

The Turner networks split the audience for the final game, showing telecasts with team-specific announcing teams on TNT and Tru TV. Add in those viewers, and the final was seen by a total of 17.8 million people. CBS did not provide the team-specific streams of the final game last year, not wanting to dilute its audience, but that wasn’t an issue with Turner owning TBS, TNT and Tru TV.

March Madness fans can expect similar arrangements in the future. CBS and Turner on Tuesday announced an extension of its deal with the NCAA to show the tournament through 2032.

The women’s national championship, with Connecticut winning its fourth straight title by beating Syracuse, was seen by just under 3 million viewers on ESPN last week.

Although CBS was the most popular broadcast network last week, Fox earned a win in the coveted 18-to-49-year-old demographic by showing the final two episodes of “American Idol.” The iconic series’ finale was seen by 13.3 million viewers, Nielsen said.

CBS averaged 7.8 million viewers in primetime last week. NBC had 5.7 million viewers, Fox had 5.4 million, ABC had 5 million, Univision had 1.9 million, ION Television had 1.4 million, the CW had 1.3 million and Telemundo had 1.2 million.

TBS was the week’s most popular cable network, averaging 2.7 million viewers in prime time. Fox News Channel had 1.91 million, USA had 1.68 million, HGTV had 1.51 million and ESPN had 1.29 million.

NBC’s “Nightly News” topped the evening newscasts with an average of 8.3 million viewers. ABC’s “World News Tonight” was second with 7.9 million and the “CBS Evening News” had 6.8 million viewers.

Below are primetime viewership numbers compiled by Nielsen for April 4-10. Listings include the week’s ranking and viewership.

1. “NCIS,” CBS, 15.67 million.

2. NCAA Basketball Championship: Villanova vs. North Carolina, TBS, 13.85 million.

3. “The Big Bang Theory,” CBS, 13.5 million.

4. “American Idol” (Thursday), Fox, 13.31 million.

5. “NCIS: New Orleans,” CBS, 12.28 million.

6. “Little Big Shots,” NBC, 12.27 million.

7. “60 Minutes,” CBS, 11.99 million.

8. “Dancing With the Stars,” ABC, 11.72 million.

9. “Empire,” Fox, 11.34 million.

10. “The Voice” (Monday), NBC, 10.43 million.

11. “Blue Bloods,” CBS, 10.35 million.

12. “Madam Secretary,” CBS, 9.86 million.

13. “American Idol” (Wednesday), Fox, 9.7 million.

14. “NCAA Basketball Championship Pregame,” TBS, 9.67 million.

15. “Survivor,” CBS, 8.99 million.

16. “Hawaii Five-0,” CBS, 8.63 million.

17. “Chicago Fire,” NBC, 7.68 million.

18. “The Odd Couple,” CBS, 7.63 million.

19. “Modern Family,” ABC, 7.51 million.

20. “Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders,” CBS, 7.44 million.