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March 19, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Airing on CBS and three cable networks — Time Warner/Turner-owned TBS, TNT, and truTV — the NCAA men’s basketball tournament scored a combined 17 million viewers and drew viewers away from their regular Thursday-night programs. All four major broadcast networks recorded significant drops in ratings. In particular, Fox’s American Idol fell to a season low. Nevertheless, the 19 million viewers who tuned in amounted to more than those who watched the hoops contests and was also more than those who watched all of the other major broadcast networks combined. Left floundering was NBC on a night that it dominated for a generation with what it then called Must See TV. Several of its shows recorded season or series lows, with the average for the night coming to just 3.79 million viewers.