It was an 76-56 victory for defending champion Villanova over Mount St. Mary’s and a similar 84-74 victory for Wisconsin over Virginia Tech in primetime on the opening day of the 2017 NCAA Tournament.
For CBS, the beginning of the tourney was exactly the same in unadjusted fast affiliates as last year, with a 1.3/5 rating for the first game and the second game in their 8-9:30 PM ET and 9:30-11 PM slots – which is a win of sorts after the decline of the opening day of March 17, 2016. But we all know the House of Moonves loves to plant its flag on the hill of total viewership, and by that measure the primetime of play was up more than 10% from the first night of the 2016 tournament.
We’ll update with adjusted ratings as they come in later today.
Coverage of the hoops tournament on Day 1 across CBS, TBS, TNT and TruTV scored a 5.9/14 HH rating. That’s up 5% over 2016 and the third best the tournament has done on its opening day since 1991, when it expanded to its current TV format. Only the 6.6 HH of 2015 and the 6.0 HH of 2014 has done better for the nets’ combined coverage.
Besides the NCAAs, there were other things on TV on Thursday, with ABC taking the top spot for a seventh consecutive Thursday with a 1.4/5 rating for its TGIT night. You might think stats are just for the NCAA games but, on a week when ratings were mainly nowhere to be found thanks to a Nielsen power outage, ABC has won three consecutive nights this week in the demo – at least before the adjusted numbers comes in, and likely even after that. Last night, the Disney-owned net also took the usual viewership win from CBS with 5.89 million watching.
With Scandal (1.4/5) and The Catch (0.8/3) even with last week, Grey’s Anatomy (2.0/8) rose a tenth to make it the night’s highest-rated show. Pulling in 7.95 million sets of eyeballs, the veteran Shonda Rhimes medical drama was also the most watched show of Thursday.
NBC has some bragging rights as its Chicago Med (1.4/5) was up 27% over its March 9 episode. But the real chest-beating is that this is the first time the Windy City series or any NBC series for that matter matched the Kerry Washington-led Scandal original-to-original in regular scheduled programming. The cherry on top is that Med also topped Scandal in viewers with 7.17 million watching, compared with the latter’s 5.80 million.
Otherwise on NBC, Superstore (1.1/4) was flat with its last original and newbie spinoff The Blacklist: Redemption (0.8/3) matched its fast affiliate of March 9 – which was clocked down a tenth in final numbers.
Fox’s MasterChef Junior (1.1/4) and newbie Kicking And Screaming (0.6/2) were even and down 14%, respectively.
The CW was all The Vampire Diaries encores last night, as the long-running show wrapped for good March 10 (or did it?).