ABC's 'How to Get Away With Murder,' 'Black-Ish' Get Full-Season Orders

The Shonda Rhimes-produced drama is TV's top series debut of the new season, while the Anthony Anderson comedy is No. 2
"How to Get Away With Murder"  Craig Sjodin/ABC

ABC has become the first network to make full-season commitments to its new fall shows.

The network has picked up Pete Nowalk's How to Get Away With Murder and Kenya Barris comedy Black-ish for full seasons, The Hollywood Reporter has learned. Both shows hail from its studio counterpart, ABC Studios. Murder will run for 15 episodes — the most that star Viola Davis' movie schedule can permit — while Black-ish is for a standard 22 episodes.

The Shonda Rhimes-produced Murder, created by Shondaland disciple Nowalk, became the banner's newest hit after opening to a whopping 14 million total viewers and a 3.8 among adults 18-49. The demo haul tied the fourth season debut of Rhimes' Scandal and topped its lead-in among total viewers. The drama was the most-watched scripted entry for the night, which included Scandal and veteran Grey's Anatomy.

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When factoring in three days of delayed viewing, the Davis starrer set a record, becoming the biggest DVR viewership in history. The series jumped to 20.3 million total viewers and a 5.6 in the demo — topping previous freshman demo leader Gotham and its total haul as well. Murder also topped previous record-holder The Blacklist, with only The Big Bang Theory posting more growth with three days of viewing in the demo. The second episode of the drama was the most-watched non-sports series on Thursday night, despite an 18 percent decline in t he demo to 3.2 and 11.8 million total viewers. The series topped both Grey's Anatomy and Scandal in total viewers.

The 15-episode order comes after ABC Entertainment Group president Paul Lee and showrunner Nowalk told reporters at TCA that the series would have a limited season — largely the case with more cable-model fare that helps lure top talent like Davis and The Following's Kevin Bacon. The network will add Ryan Phillippe drama Secrets & Lies to the Thursday at 10 p.m. lineup following Murder's run.

Blackish, the semi-autobiographical comedy from showrunner Barris and starring Anthony Anderson, finally gave ABC a hit behind Modern Family. The comedy opened to 10.8 million total viewers and a 3.3 rating among adults 18-49, holding on to a large chunk of its Emmy-winning lead-in. After ABC touted the show as the No. 1 new comedy of the season, week two saw the series fall an alarming 24 percent to 6.6 million total viewers and a 2.5 in the demo, though it's still the strongest second-week retention of any comedy in the problematic post-Modern Family slow since 2009. The series was up two-tenths this week to a 2.8 in the demo.

Email: Lesley.Goldberg@THR.com
Twitter: @Snoodit

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