TV Ratings: 'Chicago Fire' Bests 'Station 19' Premiere, March Madness Rules All

Thursday night's TV schedule had a lot of fire, but most of the heat came from March Madness.

CBS' coverage of NCAA basketball topped all early measures, besting the premiere of ABC's fire-station-centric Grey's Anatomy spinoff and two hours of NBC's Chicago Fire.

In the quest for firefighting drama enthusiasts, NBC narrowly came out on top. Two hours of Chicago Fire topped the two-hour premiere of Station 19 among total viewers in both hours, edging past it in the key demo at 10 o'clock. All in all, it was a modest start for the Shonda Rhimes-produced drama. Station 19 delivered an average 5.4 million viewers and a 1.1 rating among adults 18-49. Chicago Fire took 6.8 million viewers and a 1.2 rating among adults 18-49 over the same period.

Station 19 certainly had an advantageous lead-in. Its parent series, steady with recent episodes, pulled a 1.9 rating among adults 18-49 and 7.5 million viewers — trailing only college basketball.

Speaking of basketball, CBS coverage is pacing well ahead of anything before time zone adjustments. Preliminary averages give coverage a 2.4 rating in the key demo and just over 8 million viewers.

Elsewhere on the dial, Superstore (1.1 adults) and AP Bio (0.7 adults) held steady on NBC, as did Gotham (0.7 adults) and Showtime at the Apollo (0.6 adults) on Fox.