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‘60 Minutes’ tops ratings for first time since 2008



Associated Press
Wednesday, March 29, 2017

CBS’s 60 Minutes returned this week to a familiar place it hadn’t been accustomed to visiting that much lately: first place in the prime-time television rankings.

The venerable newsmagazine hadn’t finished as the most-watched program of the week since November 2008, when newly elected Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle, sat down for the first TV interview since their election.

In its glory years, that was a familiar spot for 60 Minutes. It finished the entire 1979-80 season as television’s top-ranked show, a feat that it achieved five times. The first week that it topped the ratings came in November 1978 – likely making it the show with the longest gap between the first and most recent first-place showing.

This week’s show featured Scott Pelley’s story about fake news, Anderson Cooper’s report on the Islamic State’s first attack on U.S. soil and Sharyn Alfonsi’s feature about a chess program in rural Mississippi. The content was less important than the show’s lead-in: The newsmagazine started a half hour later than usual because of North Carolina’s regional final victory over Kentucky in men’s basketball, a game that came down to a last-second shot and was watched by 22.1 million people during its final 15 minutes.

It has been a positive season for 60 Minutes, which is up about 2 percent in viewership over last year.

CBS easily won the week in prime-time, averaging 7.4 million viewers. NBC had 5.6 million, ABC had 4.4 million, Fox had 2.8 million, Univision had 1.7 million, Telemundo had 1.31 million, the CW had 1.3 million and ION Television had 1.2 million.

TBS was the week’s most popular cable network, reaching 3.27 million in prime-time with the help of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament. Fox News Channel had 2.51 million, MSNBC had 1.77 million, HGTV had 1.63 million and USA had 1.62 million.