Ellen Pompeo of 'Grey's Anatomy'

Ellen Pompeo of 'Grey's Anatomy'

Fast National ratings for Thursday, March 19, 2009

Ratings for the opening night of the NCAA basketball tournament improved some over last year's tipoff, but ABC grabbed the night's biggest audience.

ABC averaged a 7.3 rating/12 share in primetime to snare the top spot. CBS came in second with a 5.9/10, which will change some because of the live sports broadcast. FOX, 5.4/9, finished third, beating out the 4.8/8 for NBC. The CW earned a 2.0/3.

CBS tied ABC for the lead among adults 18-49 at 3.5. FOX, 3.1, and NBC, 3.0, were not far behind. The CW trailed with a 1.3.

"Bones" put FOX on top at 8 p.m. with a 6.3/11. CBS' NCAA tourney coverage finished a close second at 6.1/10 (and led among adults 18-49). "Ugly Betty" drew a 5.2/9 for ABC. "My Name Is Earl" and an "Office" rerun put NBC in fourth, while "Smallville" scored a 2.1/3 for The CW.

ABC took over at 9 with "Grey's Anatomy," the night's most-watched show at 9.7/15. CBS improved to 6.4/10 with March Madness. FOX's "Hell's Kitchen," 4.6/7, finished in a virtual tie for third with NBC's "The Office," 4.9/8, and "30 Rock," 4.3/7. "Supernatural" held steady for The CW.

"Private Practice," 7.0/12, kept ABC on top at 10 p.m. "ER" drew a 6.2/10 for NBC, while CBS' college basketball dipped some to 5.2/9.

Ratings information is taken from fast national data, which includes live and same-day DVR viewing. All numbers are preliminary and subject to change, especially in the case of live telecasts.