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This publicity image released by History shows Diogo Morcaldo as Jesus, center, being baptized by Daniel Percival, as John, in a scene from "The Bible."

Cable TV has big night Sunday

NEW YORK (AP) — Easter Sunday was a busy night for television, although not necessarily broadcast TV.

AMC's "The Walking Dead" was seen by 12.42 million people, while the conclusion of History's five-part miniseries "The Bible" reached 11.75 million viewers, the Nielsen company said. That means zombies were slightly more popular than biblical figures on Sunday.

Both finished among the week's 10 most popular television programs, along with one broadcast program from the night: CBS's "60 Minutes."

HBO's "Game of Thrones" returned Sunday for its third season and largest audience ever with 4.4 million, Nielsen said. Two days later, HBO announced it will be producing a fourth season.

After a long dry spell, "The Voice" returned to give NBC some life. Both episodes of the good-natured singing competition had bigger audiences than Fox's perennial champ, "American Idol," although it was close.

Still, the Thursday episode of "American Idol" slipped out of television's top ten for the week, finishing below even the two popular cable shows. And Fox, which has ridden the success of the show for more than a decade, finished fourth for the week in viewers, Nielsen said.

CBS led for the week in prime-time with an average of 9 million viewers (5.6 rating, 9 share). ABC had 7.1 million viewers (4.6, 8), NBC had 5.4 million (3.4, 6), Fox had 5.2 million (3.2, 5), the CW had 1.4 million (0.9, 1) and ION Television had 1.1 million (0.7, 1).

Among the Spanish-language networks, Univision led with an average of 3.4 million viewers (1.8, 3), Telemundo had 1.3 million (0.7, 1), UniMas had 670,000 (0.3, 1), Estrella had 190,000 and Azteca 100,000 (both 0.1, 0).

NBC's "Nightly News" topped the evening newscasts with an average of 8.4 million viewers (5.6, 11). ABC's "World News" was second with 7.8 million (5.2, 11) and the "CBS Evening News" had 6.4 million viewers (4.3, 8).

A ratings point represents 1,147,000 households, or 1 percent of the nation's estimated 114.7 million TV homes. The share is the percentage of in-use televisions tuned to a given show.

For the week of March 25-31, the top 10 shows, their networks and viewerships: "NCIS," CBS, 18.62 million; "NCIS: Los Angeles," CBS, 14.53 million; "Dancing With the Stars," ABC, 14.47 million; "The Voice" (Monday), NBC, 13.64 million; "Dancing With the Stars Results," ABC, 13.43 million; "The Walking Dead," AMC, 12.42 million; "The Voice" (Tuesday), NBC, 12.41 million; "American Idol" (Wednesday), Fox, 12.33 million; "The Bible," History, 11.75 million; "60 Minutes," CBS, 11.67 million.