Hoops-happy CBS wins weekly ratings race -- Even without ''CSI,'' CBS scores with NCAA basketball, ''Survivor,'' and ''Amazing Race''

By EW Staff
March 22, 2005 at 05:00 AM EST

March Madness took hold of CBS last week, with NCAA basketball preempting the network’s top show, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, and pushing Survivor: Palau to uncharted Wednesday-night wilderness. Still, despite all the hoops hysteria — or maybe because of it — CBS came out on top for the week in the Nielsen ratings, averaging 11.97 million viewers and placing six shows in the top 10, even the off-night Survivor (No. 3, 18.4 million viewers). Between that show, basketball, and The Amazing Race, which enjoyed its best showing in a year and a half, it was a good week to be a jock on CBS.

Fox boasted three of the top four shows this week: the one-two punch of Tuesday’s and Wednesday’s American Idol (No. 1 and No. 2, with 28.4 million and 24.7 million), and new hit House (No. 4, 17.3 million). The network came in second overall for the week with 9.7 million viewers. NBC, which placed newcomer Medium in the top 10 (No. 7, 15.4 million), finished third with an average of 9.4 million. ABC, limping along for a fourth straight week without a new episode of Desperate Housewives, finished fourth with 8.2 million. UPN drew 3.2 million to the WB’s 2.7 million.