March 21, 2009

Start of NCAA tournament a ratings draw

The start of the NCAA men's basketball tournament drew an average of 9.5 million U.S viewers for CBS, ratings show.

The Hollywood Reporter said Friday that official start of the March Madness tournament Thursday helped CBS earn a 3.5 preliminary rating among adults ages 18 to 49.

The ratings for the tournament's initial broadcast marked a nearly 8 Opercent increase compared with last year's figures.

The ratings for the network's live tournament coverage enabled CBS to tie ABC in the vital viewer demographic as the rival network offered episodes of Ugly Betty, Grey's Anatomy and Private Practice.

Betty drew 7.6 million viewers and a 2.1 rating among viewers 18-49 for ABC, while Anatomy gathered 14.4 million along with a 4.9 rating and Practice earned 10 million and a 3.6 rating.

Fox came in third on the night behind ABC and CBS thanks to Bones and Hell's Kitchen, the Reporter said. NBC came in on Fox's heels with My Name is Earl, 30 Rock, ER and two episodes of The Office.