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ABC had a special treat for fans of How to Get Away With Murder following the two-hour season finale Thursday.
A promo that aired after the closing credits of the rookie Viola Davis drama promoted that the series “returns this fall” — marking the closest the network has gotten to handing out an official renewal. (The episode also started with a recap offering an explainer on what happened in “season one.”)
While the network won’t confirm an official renewal until mid-May — ahead of its upfront presentation to advertisers in New York — the Pete Nowalk-created series from executive producers Shonda Rhimes and Betsy Beers has been one of the biggest breakout hits of the season. The series has netted star Davis a SAG Award win and continues to be at the forefront of broadcast television’s diversity push.
The series became Shondaland’s (Scandal, Grey’s Anatomy) 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 ABC Studios drama was the most-watched scripted entry for the night, which included Scandal and veteran Grey’s Anatomy. When factoring in three days of delayed viewing, the Davis starrer set a record, becoming the biggest DVR viewership in history at the time. Following its full-season pickup — for 15 episodes to accommodate Davis’ schedule — Murder emerged as the fall’s de facto breakout.
ABC traditionally waits until the Friday before upfronts to renew all its surefire series, including Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal and Modern Family, among others.
Check out THR’s exclusive postmortem interview with Davis here.
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