TV Ratings: Jimmy Kimmel and 'Scandal' Are a Dynamic Duo for ABC

The first non-NBC host to make late-night waves in the last three weeks, Kimmel's "Live!" capitalizes on the returning drama and hits season highs in the process.
Courtesy of ABC
Kerry Washington on "Jimmy Kimmel Live!"

Jimmy Kimmel may want to consider turning Thursday's Live! into a Scandal after party. Boasting star Kerry Washington as a guest and a viral spoof of her soap, ABC's lone late-night talk show nabbed its best ratings of the season.

Kimmel's score comes on the heels of nearly a month of NBC dominating the ratings and the late-night conversation, with Jay Leno's Tonight Show exit and Jimmy Fallon's move into the perennially victorious flagship. Overnight ratings give Fallon his closest competition to date since joining Tonight. Kimmel averaged a 3.0 rating in Metered-Market households, a day-to-day jump of 43 percent, just shy of Fallon's 3.4 rating.

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Among adults 18-49, Kimmel improved even more. ABC doubled its Wednesday showing in the 11:35 p.m. hour, averaging a 1.2 rating on Thursday. That puts it within two-tenths of a point of Fallon.

The numbers aren't particularly indicative of any larger trend. Fallon's Tonight is still riding a wave of interest in NBC's late-night transition, and Kimmel frequently sees some of his best ratings on Thursday nights -- but the fact that we're seeing any tight competition after weeks of decisive NBC dominance livens up the late-night debate.

Kimmel has been without a bankable Thursday lead-in since Scandal's last original episode on Dec. 12. The biggest 10 p.m. performer on the broadcast schedule among adults 18-49, Scandal returned last night with a 3.3 rating among adults 18-49 and 9.3 million viewers.