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Political programming dominates the week in television


NEW YORK — For the second straight week, politics was the dominant force in prime-time television.

CBS News' coverage of the Democratic presidential debate from South Carolina last week was easily the most-watched event on television, with 15.34 million viewers. The newsmagazine “60 Minutes,” which featured Scott Pelley's interview with Democrat Mike Bloomberg, came in second for the week, the Nielsen company said.

The previous Democratic debate, from Nevada, which reached just under 20 million people on NBC and MSNBC, dominated the Nielsen ratings the previous week.

Meanwhile, the three news networks —Fox News, MSNBC and CNN — were the most popular networks on cable television, and their diets are heavily political.

In entertainment, “The Voice” returned for a new season on NBC, instantly eclipsing “American Idol” on ABC.

CBS led the way with an average of 6.1 million viewers in prime time last week. NBC had 4.7 million viewers, ABC had 4.2 million, Fox had 2.6 million, Univision had 1.4 million, ION Television had 1.3 million, Telemundo had 1.1 million and the CW had 580,000.

Fox News Channel averaged 3.03 million viewers in prime time, with MSNBC second with 1.8 million. CNN had 1.161 million, ESPN had 1.158 million and HGTV had 1.08 million.

ABC's “World News Tonight” won the evening news ratings racing, averaging 9.1 million viewers. NBC's “Nightly News” had 7.8 million and the “CBS Evening News” had 5.7 million.

For the week of Feb. 24-March 1, Nielsen's top 20 programs, their networks and viewerships:

1. Democratic Presidential Debate, CBS, 15.34 million.

2. “60 Minutes,” CBS, 9.18 million.

3. “The Voice” (Monday), NBC, 8.99 million.

4. “Chicago Fire,” NBC, 8.66 million.

5. “Chicago Med,” NBC, 8.61 million.

6. “The Voice” (Tuesday), NBC, 8.57 million.

7. “Chicago PD,” NBC, 8.12 million.

8. “Survivor,” CBS, 7.15 million.

9. . “American Idol,” ABC, 6.99 million.

10. “This is Us,” NBC, 6.98 million.

11. “Hawaii Five-0,” CBS, 6.86 million.

12. “The Bachelor,” ABC, 6.82 million.

13. “The Masked Singer,” Fox, 6.74 million.

14. “Station 19,” ABC, 6.59 million.

15. “NCIS: Los Angeles,” CBS, 6.49 million.

16. “Young Sheldon,” CBS, 6.03 million.

17. “Grey's Anatomy,” ABC, 6.006 million.

18. “God Friended Me,” CBS, 6.005 million.

19. “911: Lone Star,” Fox, 5.65 million.

20. “The Good Doctor,” ABC, 5.63 million.

David Bauder, The Associated Press