Primetime Ratings: ABC and CBS Tie on March Madness Opening Night

'Grey's Anatomy,' 'Private Practice' deliver solid ratings

Grey’s Anatomy continued its first-place streak Thursday night, giving ABC enough power to tie CBS’ first round March Madness coverage on the opening night of the NCAA tournament.

March Madness coverage gave CBS the early lead in the 8 p.m. hour, delivering a 3.4/10. Bones on Fox was second with a 3.0/9 and first in total viewers with a 10.2 million average. NBC’s 8 p.m. comedy hour was third at 2.2/7 with My Name is Earl (2.4/8) at 8 and a re-run of The Office (2.0/6) at 8:30. ABC’s Ugly Betty was next at 2.1/6. The CW finished fifth at 1.4/4 with Smallville.

ABC took over the top spot at 9 p.m. and didn’t relinquish the slot for the rest of the night, earning the top rating and highest viewer average at 9 and 10. Grey’s Anatomy earned a 4.9/12 and averaged 14.4 million viewers. Continuing coverage of the men’s basketball tournament on CBS drew a 3.8/9, followed by NBC’s block of The Office (3.9/10) and 30 Rock (3.2/8) delivering a 3.5/9 for the hour. Fox pulled a 3.3/8 with Hell’s Kitchen. The CW was fifth with a 1.2/3 with a new episode of Supernatural.

ABC finished first at 10 p.m. with Private Practice delivering a 3.6/10 and 10 million average viewers. CBS aired more March Madness coverage and finished the hour in a second place tie with NBC, which aired ER, at a 3.3/9.

Overall, ABC and CBS both finished the night at 3.5/10. ABC was first in total viewers with a 10.7 million average while CBS was second at 9.4 million. Fox finished third at 3.1/9 with NBC just behind at 3.0/8. The CW finished fifth at 1.3/4.