Nielsen says 14.2 million watched 'Dead' cliffhanger

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

NEW YORK (AP) — A cliffhanger ending to its sixth season fascinated more than 14 million viewers of "The Walking Dead," although AMC's blockbuster hit continued to show some signs of erosion.

During the final episode on Sunday, new villain Negan killed someone with a barbed wire bat he named Lucille. Viewers will have to wait until next season to find out who he killed, however.

It was down from the 15.8 million who watched the fifth season finale on the night it aired, and didn't approach the 17.3 million who watched the first episode of the fifth season in October 2014 — the show's high point.

It's not unusual for hit shows to begin to fade after they have been on the air for a couple of years. A more complete barometer of the show's performance will come in a few weeks, when the number of people who watched it via delayed viewing are counted in.

In its first year on cable's TBS on Monday night, an estimated 17.8 million people watched Villanova's last-second victory over North Carolina for the NCAA men's basketball championship. That's sharply down from the 28.3 million people who saw last year's Duke-Wisconsin game on CBS, the Nielsen company said. It shows that broadcast TV still has an advantage over cable networks although, to be fair, last year's game was the most-watched NCAA final since 1997.

The Academy of Country Music awards saw its viewership take a steep drop — from 16 million last year to 11.2 million Sunday night on CBS, Nielsen said.

CBS won the week in prime time, averaging 7.9 million viewers. NBC had 6 million viewers, ABC had 4.8 million, Fox had 4 million, Univision had 1.8 million, the CW had 1.5 million, ION Television had 1.24 million and Telemundo had 1.23 million.

Buoyed by Saturday's NCAA basketball semifinals, TBS was the week's most popular cable network, averaging 2.55 million viewers in prime time. AMC had 1.96 million viewers, Fox News Channel had 1.82 million, HGTV had 1.66 million and USA had 1.53 million.

NBC's "Nightly News" topped the evening newscasts with an average of 8.6 million viewers. ABC's "World News Tonight" was second with 8.2 million and the "CBS Evening News" had 7 million viewers.

For the week of March 28-April 3, the top 10 shows, their networks and viewerships: "The Big Bang Theory," CBS, 14.24 million; "The Walking Dead," AMC, 14.19 million; "Empire," Fox, 12.46 million; "Dancing With the Stars," ABC, 11.95 million; "The Voice" (Monday), NBC, 11.36 million; "Little Big Shots," NBC, 11.33 million; "Academy of Country Music Awards," CBS, 11.2 million; "The Voice" (Tuesday), NBC, 11.1 million; "Blue Bloods," CBS, 10.4 million; "NCIS," CBS, 10.38 million.


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.