Ratings: Scandal Opens Solidly on Super-Soft Night, as 11 Shows See Declines

ABC’s Scandal broke solidly on Thursday night, scoring a 2.1 demo rating in its  debut. That’s down just a tenth from what Private Practice last delivered in the 10 o’clock spot, while its total viewership (7.5 million) marks the best retention (91%) out of Grey’s in three years — and the best audience retention ever for a non-crossover episode.

The Mentalist, despite dropping 8 and 11 percent to 12.5 million viewers and a 2.4, as usual led the hour.

For reference, here is how ABC’s other freshman drama debuts performed:
Once Upon a Time: 12.8 million viewers, 3.9 rating
Revenge: 10 mil, 3.3
Pan Am: 10.8 mil, 3.1
The River: 7.5 mil, 2.4
GCB: 7.6 mil, 2.2
Charlie’s Angels: 8.7 mil, 2.1
* Missing: 10.6 mil, 2.0

Grey’s Anatomy (8.1 mil/2.8) itself was down 17 and 7 percent from its last fresh, opening the door for CBS’ Person of Interest (13.5 mil/2.9) to eke out its first-ever demo win.

Over in the Land of Sad News (which is 30 miles north of Blanketsburg): Community dropped 11 and 24 percent to 3.1 million viewers and a series-low 1.3 demo rating.

That said, on a night when TV viewership was down 6 percent as a whole, 11 out of 12 broadcast programs saw declines. (The lone holdout, Rules of Engagement, merely stayed flat at 8.8 mil/2.7.) Looking at the bloodbath hour by hour….

8 pm | American Idol was the night’s most-watched program with 13.8 million total viewers, while scoring a 3.8 rating (down 13 percent). Big Bang Theory (13 mil/4.2) drew the top demo rating, though it was down 11 percent. ABC’s Missing (7.1 mil/1.4) dipped another 6 percent in the demo. Leading out of Community, 30 Rock (2.8 mil/1.2) dropped 10 and 20 percent.

9 pm | Person of Interest swept Grey’s with 13.5 mil and a 2.9, despite dipping 8 and 12 percent. Fox’s Touch (7.5 mil/2.3) slipped 15 percent. Up All Night was down 10 and 15 percent to 2.6 mil/1.1).

10 pm | Awake dropped 20 and 10 percent to new lows of 2.54 mil/0.9.

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  1. K. says:

    2.1 isn’t good.

  2. Syc0 says:

    Nice for POI. One of the best freshman shows.

  3. George2k says:

    Person of Interest Is a great show ,,,,, creepy as hell but still good

  4. bad kevin says:

    Person of Interest still got me hooked on Thursdays, as does Awake (hope NBC renews it for another season) and Fox better keep Touch as well ’til the season is over.

  5. Hols says:

    why do networks insist on premiering shows in
    march and april, when ratings are already down across the board, and then compare them with ratings from fall premieres. Its ridiculously bad as a policy.

    • Tarc says:

      Because they are not going to waste episodes of their powerhouse winter shows – the ones that draw the max advertizing dollars – for a time frame when viewwership is down. This year, the weather in the northern midwest is bizarrely warm, so spring came very early, contributing to the drop in viewership.

  6. Lambsilencer says:

    Re: The Mentalist:
    The press release for this week’s episode was obviously written before the show received its final cut. Samaire Armstrong (Summer) wasn’t in it at all. They must have cut her scenes for time. Too bad, I was looking forward to seeing her again on the show. But she should be in the next episode, airing in two weeks.

  7. Samara says:

    I can see how The Mentalist’s numbers could be down. I almost forgot they had a new episode on this week until I someone reminded me yesterday. Loved last night’s episode. I didn’t catch the writer but if I’m not mistaken, I think it was a newcomer who wrote it. Whoever did, it had everything! It was entertaining throughout, liked the teacher, Mr. Tierney, helped so many people, enjoyed that Lisbon got to take down the teacher (love it when she goes all BAMF), loved the Jane/Lisbon the entire episode-from the teaser to the end when he talked about her being meaner to him than the others, liked that Grace encouraged the hooker to go back to school, we got a little bit of Cho and Rigsby time, and loved the end, Jane’s reaction to the child-perfect note to end on. Hope if it was a newb who wrote this, that they get to write again for the series and keep up with all the good stuff they had in this one. They had everything I love about the series in there. Great job! :)

  8. wrstlgirl says:

    Scandal was okay but not great, Touch was fantastic as was Missing. Nice twist on Missing that I did not see coming, Loved it!

  9. T says:

    Scandal was okay, but I don’t have much hope for it since it is created by Shonda Rhimes. Just look at how bad Grey’s and Private Practice are – I stopped watching both of those shows years ago.

    • Chester says:

      They are all written in the same style, just with different settings. Did you notice how close to the end of Scandal, the main character, whatever her name is, was giving a long speech about what she learned, while periodically repeating herself. The characters in Greys and Private Practice do the same thing.

  10. Dean says:

    Ouch for Awake and Touch. Such a shame too because they’re my two favorite new dramas of the season. Awake’s practically a goner with a .9 rating but at least Touch still has a chance with American Idol as a lead-in.

  11. Ashley says:

    Greys was very good last night but I didn’t stick around for Scandal. I think I got over dosed on all the promos for it. If it lasts, I may check it out later. ABC has thrown up so many repeats this year, people drift away and either don’t come back or find something else to watch. Between spring break and the start of a holiday weekend, I think the ratings will tick up next week.

  12. Jake says:

    Does this take into account people who DVR and watch shows later…If not, then this ratings system needs an overhaul. IMO Scandal is going to be a good show probably the best of the Freshman shows so far.

    • Matt Webb Mitovich says:

      There is a final ratings report that accounts for people who watch via DVR playback within 7 days — though advertisers (aka the straw that stirs the drink) don’t pay those numbers much mind, since people are FFing their commercials.

      • TigerNightmare says:

        I don’t always fast forward. Although with my DVR, I’m still seeing commercials for football playoffs.

        Why doesn’t NBC just scrap the Thursday comedy block and move it to Tuesday where there’s less comedy competition and put their higher rated reality crap to Thursday? While I will choose Community over Big Bang Theory every time, I admit that if BBT was not available online and Community was and those were my only viewing options, I would watch it that way. You can’t skip online commercials either. If neither was online and I had to pick one to watch live, of course it’s Community. Big Bang already has a syndication deal and I can catch reruns. Hate this crap.

        • tripoli says:

          Kinda agree with you. I don’t have a DVR but I watch a lot online. I always have to choose between the competing comedies on Thursday night. I like both Community and Big Bang Theory, but can only watch one during the original airing. Doesn’t mean I don’t like or support the other show, just gotta make a choice. And I flip the channel during commercials, and ignore them when watching online. Just don’t wanna watch them.

  13. Kathy says:

    I love Awake. I find it fascinating. I hope it is renewed for a second season.

  14. Alex says:

    Yikes, bad numbers all around! Any theories of why?

  15. Amy says:

    Ouch for Community, because last night’s ep was soooo funny. I almost think it beats paintball. Almost.

    • Angela says:

      I know! People missed out on a hilarious episode!
      Yeah. Love me the paintball wars, but the pillowfort war was up there, certainly. Sigh. Hopefully people caught up and watched it online later.

  16. Ed says:

    My DirectTV went out, so of course I missed Scandal and Grey’s

  17. Leah says:

    I was visiting the NBC comedies last night….was it just me (and the girl crush I have on Megan Mullay) or was Up All Night pretty great last night?

    And Community and 30 Rock were as always, awesome.

  18. Linderella says:

    So bummed to hear Awake’s ratings, especially for such a great episode. If NBC doesn’t make a home for it – maybe USA network can save the day. If they cancel this one, I doubt if I’d get too interested in future NBC dramas as the network seems willing to pull the plug on anything except crappy reality shows. RIP Prime Suspect, L&O LA, The Event…

    • Helena R says:

      Awake is one of my favorite new TV shows this year. It’s such a shame that NBC does not have a good lead-in show for it. The numbers look bad, but I hope NBC renews it. Otherwise, I really don’t watch anything else on NBC.

  19. leahbh says:

    I thought about watching scandal, but i refuse to give another shonda rhimes show a chance. I hate grey’s and can’t believe private practice made it past a couple of episodes.

    I do love Person of Interest though. And how about Community last night??? That was AWESOME!!!

  20. Caro says:

    I liked the show, but what I didn’t like was the God complex everybody gave Olivia. She was portrayed like the I-know-it-all kind of person who could just look at somebody and know if he or she was telling the truth. Her staff almost worshipped her and that looked really ridiculous. The “Olivia doesn’t believe in crying” felt like they couldn’t think for themselves, were headless followers of the cult Olivia. But okay, I watched on and it wasn’t bad… until she got cornered in the Oval office and the president kissed her!! I couldn’t believe she let him corner her to begin with!!! but then to be kissed by him!!! She left so that wouldn’t happen and he moved on to some young chick and even then she let him kiss her?!?!? Totally unbelievable. It weakened the character and that reminded me it’s a Shonda Rhimes show. She can’t stop when she needs to stop. It was too much and therefore unbelievable.
    I’ll watch another episode because it had potential, I’ll see what will happen but I hope this doesn’t turn out to be another of those soapy unrealistic shows with too many twists that are hard to buy.

    • kay jo says:

      There’s a reason that she “allowed” the “president” to kiss her. It was to show that no matter how strong a woman is, love can always make her weak, even if it’s momentarily. I like that show of weakness in the face of an otherwise wise and smart woman. It reminds me of myself and I’m sure every other strong woman can identify with that.

  21. Fido says:

    My initial view on Scandal was just how similar to that Kristen Bell series it was – in that most of the characters aren’t very nice and it is filled with “do this for me or I’ll ruin you” moments. I’m all for baddies getting their comeupance(?) but it is hard to root for a main character who is basically btchslapping a weakling – (that sentence needed a little tweaking).
    Person of Interest, however, is freaking awesome.

    • Tarc says:

      And the acting of the lead in Scandal was pretty bad. I laughed out loud at several inappropriate times because the dialog was either ridiculously bad, or the delivery was poor.

      • Jacki says:

        Ok, gotta stop you right there. Kerry Washington, who plays the lead Olivia, did an excellent job! Not sure why there’s such an immense amount of Shonda Rhimes/Grey’s Anatomy hate going on, but her shows have lasted 8 seasons-GA, 5 seasons-PP, in a cancel first, replace with sub-par, “reality”, for a reason. She’s got the goods and Scandal has the potential to be a great show.

  22. sixseasons&amovie says:

    LOVED Community last night! The documentary feel was a nice touch. Some of the funniest stuff I’ve seen in awhile!

  23. Diz says:

    They didn’t air anything from NBC last night because of baseball. I think Community is finally scheduled for early Sun. AM.

  24. sam says:

    Scandal was awesome and kerry washington gives a great performance. I didn’t really think i would like it so I bit surprised that I loved it.

    • Tarc says:

      Really? I found Washington’s performance laughably bad – worse than the commercials. Sorry, I love GA, but Scandal was very, very weak.

  25. Jules says:

    Loved Community last night..but sad about the ratings..
    Not better with TOUCH who literally bored me..had enough!! No need another “24”2.0 in my life..
    As for AWAKE -well.. gave them a chance..but still bored with the 2 therapy plot…but still merit to improve..

  26. ollie says:

    so happy about poi great episode last night

  27. Russ says:

    I was pleasantly surprised with Scandal, I expected it to fairly bad. It had a nice set up for the next episode.

  28. zoot says:

    I liked Scandal..didn’t like that it is always lit so dark, Also agree with the God complex that they are giving too much weight on Olivia’s “gutt”. I thought I was the only one but I also can’t stand Grey’s Anatomy..haven’t liked it since the day one so I don’t know much about Shonda’s skills of ruining a show. I’ll stick with Scandal for now and see.

  29. Kathy says:

    I think Awake is a great show with a lot of mystery to still unravel if given the chance. My theiry is that neither of the “realities” are real. That he is in a coma, similar to Life On Mars.

  30. Ali says:

    Ouch for Awake. And what a great episode. It continue to amazes me each week. I’m hoping for some form of an uptick and that NBC gives it another season. I’m ready for the downfall of reality tv.

  31. carla campbell says:

    I wish I understood why ABC is running so many repeat episodes of their shows. It’s a turn off. I usually look for another channel to watch. By the way, I loved Scandal. I thought it was timely, fast past, and sophisticated.

  32. MG says:

    I also watched Scandal to see if it was going to be anything like the commercials and other hype–no half dressed men [darn!] so I guess that is in a future ep. Did not like the guy chosen to play the prez and something I read mentioned her former ‘involvement’ with the prez so I just ignored the kiss. It held my interest, but will ep 2 also hold and keep my interest?? But have a question . . . . does anyone remember Olivia’s dialog when she was talking to the war hero in his jail cell??? It was sappy, yes, but it was about who you love and etc . . . it struck a chord (made me cry) with something I’m going thru and I’d really like to “capture” those words for future reference. Thanks!

  33. HouseObssessedAgain says:

    Love, love SCANDAL. The dialogue and the pace are awesome. Definitely a show for grownups. Has a West Wing feel to it. Love Olivia, the Prez, and Quinn.

    Scandal will replace my most fav show, House. Once House ends, I’ll never have to watch a show on the FOX HATE NETWORK.

  34. kay jo says:

    Scandal and Person of Interest are my new CAN’T-MISS shows for the next couple of years. The only other can’t-miss shows I have are Dexter, Shameless and the Big Bang Theory. Other than that, it’s TV Land reruns!!

  35. Jackie says:

    If scandal does not stop all the repeats in a row, viewers will move on to other shows. I am so sick of the repeats until I have moved on to another show and will wait until the DVD comes out to see all that happens. Scandal could be a great show, but I am board like many just waiting.