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.