CBS’ opening night of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament was way down in preliminary numbers Thursday. Compared with last year’s equally preliminary fast-affiliate ratings, the network was off 41% for the night in the 18-49 age bracket (1.0 vs. 1.7) and 31% in total viewers (3.9 million vs. 5.6 million).
The first-round matchups on the network Thursday were Kentucky-Abilene Christian (1.0, 3.90M) in the early slot and Wofford-Seton Hall (1.0, 3.80M) later. Tonight’s primetime CBS schedule includes No. 1 Duke.
Meanwhile, ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy (1.4, 6.89M) was easily Thursday’s No. 1 non-basketball show, though it equaled its series low in the demo. The network’s Station 19 (0.9, 5.60M) dominated its 9 PM hour in both metrics, tying the basketball in the demo and gaining in both measurements week to week, and growing a tenth in the demo from the previous week’s match of a series low. For the People (0.5, 3.16M) matched last week’s low in the demo.
NBC’s Superstore (0.9, 3.89M) matched its best numbers in a year, after which A.P. Bio (0.5, 2.33M) earned its best total viewer stats in a year. Will & Grace (0.7, 2.96M) and Law & Order: SVU (0.8, 4.27M) grew week to week.
Fox’s Gotham (0.6, 2.23M) and The Orville (0.6, 2.95M) equaled their series demo lows.
CBS (1.0, 3851M) took the night in the demo with hoops coverage. ABC (0.9, 5.22M), however, topped in total viewers with its most-watched Thursday in about four months. NBC (0.7, 3.32M) ranked No. 3, followed by Fox (0.6, 2.59M) and CW (0.3, 1.24M), with Supernatural (0.4, 1.47M) and Legacies (0.3, 1.01M).