The basketball competition on CBS last week wasn’t just between UConn and Duke, but between the NCAA hoops finals and ”CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.” The previous week, college basketball had pushed ”CSI” and ”Survivor” out of their Thursday slots, allowing NBC’s ”The Apprentice” to pull ahead in the Nielsen ratings. This time, ”CSI” returned to its regular slot and was the week’s most-watched show, with 26.5 million viewers. Still, Saturday’s game (No. 10, 16.7 million viewers) helped strengthen a CBS slate that made the Eye the week’s most-watched network, averaging 13.2 million viewers. Other notable CBS shows included ”Survivor” (No. 4), ”CSI: Miami” (No. 6), and ”Without a Trace” (No. 8), whose 18.1 million viewers comprised the show’s largest audience ever.
NBC claimed a demographic victory among 18 to 49-year-olds, especially with ”The Apprentice” (No. 5), which beat ”CSI” among the coveted 18-to-49 set for the first time. The network finished second in total viewers (11.1 million) for the week. Fox continued to enjoy top three success for its two weekly installments of ”American Idol,” but it fumbled with Friday’s ”Wonderfalls” (now canceled after just four airings) and finished third for the week (8.3 million). ABC, which apparently drew a ”Passion”-ate crowd of 10.2 million for Sunday’s annual broadcast of the much less bloody biblical epic ”The Ten Commandments,” was otherwise without a prayer, averaging 7.4 million viewers for the week. A ”Top Model”-less UPN still managed to beat the WB, 2.8 million to 2.6 million.