4:30pm PT by Lesley Goldberg
ABC's 'How to Get Away With Murder,' 'Black-Ish' Get Full-Season Orders
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.
See more Faces of Fall 2014
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.