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ABC has reason to celebrate Friday morning, now that it’s the first network to have opened two formidable freshman series this premiere week.
Capping off a night of Shonda Rhimes-produced dramas, newcomer drama How to Get Away With Murder opened with a 3.8 rating among adults 18-49 and 14 million viewers. In the key demo, that put it on the same level as lead-in Scandal. It was also the most-watched scripted entry on the night. Just one day after the strong debut of Black-ish, that’s more good news for the alphabet net. (And, keeping with the theme of the week and season, those numbers and the following should be taken with a grain of pre-time-shifting salt.)
How to Get Away With Murder was one of three Shondaland productions of the night, billed by the network as Thank God It’s Thursday. As for Scandal, which seems to have made a successful segue into the 9 p.m. time slot, its 3.8 rating in the key demo was actually an improvement of two-tenths of a point from last fall. (Its total viewership was just shy of 12 million, meaning a lot of people waited until 10 p.m. to tune in to Murder.)
Grey’s Anatomy, even entering its 11th season, finally gave ABC something solid at 8 p.m. on Thursday. The drama returned with a 3.0 adults rating in the long-troubled time slot and 9.8 million viewers. And while that might be a hit from last season at 9 p.m., it’s a reasonable sacrifice for the network to find a good fit in the hour. Taken together, the Rhimes trio gave ABC its highest-rated Thursday night in five years.
The Thursday victor, of course, was CBS’ Thursday Night Football. Up from last week’s preliminary numbers by 36 percent, the Giants-Redskins matchup will easily outpace the rest of the Big Four when full demo and viewership data arrives on Friday afternoon.
Other new entries included the 10th season of Fox’s Bones, with a 1.6 rating in the key demo and 6.2 million viewers for its latest schedule move. While even with the latest finale, the series had a sharp drop from its live-plus-same-day debut on Monday last fall. Fox projects a 44 percent improvement in the key demo once time-shifting comes into play. On NBC, Parenthood fetched a 1.4 rating among adults 18-49 (building on its steady Biggest Loser lead-in) and 4.3 million viewers.
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