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Ratings Update: “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Scandal” Hit Lows, “American Crime” Slides 30%

Update 2: It might have been adjusted upward in the final ratings report, but Thursday’s “Scandal” performance still represented a season low.

Thursday’s episode drew a 2.7 adults 18-49 rating with 8.24 million. The previous week’s broadcast posted a 3.0 with 9.57 million viewers.

The portrait was even bleaker for lead-in “Grey’s Anatomy.” In addition to delivering a season low overall performance, Thursday’s “Grey’s,” which scored a 2.1 adults 18-49 rating with 7.40 million viewers, posted a series low in the demo. Last week’s “Grey’s” posted a 2.4 with 8.09 million viewers.

ABC closed its evening with new drama “American Crime.” Episode two of the series, which drew a 1.4 with 5.76 million viewers, fell by 30% in the demo.

Update: Last week, “American Crime” premiered with an underwhelming 2.0 adults 18-49 rating and 8.37 million viewers.

Its ratings portrait became markedly bleaker in week two.

Down 30% in the key demo, this week’s “Crime” drew a mere 1.4 adults 18-49 rating with 5.81 million viewers, per fast national data. So soft was the performance that it caused ABC to relinquish its typical lead in the 10PM timeslot. CBS’ “Elementary,” which is far from a ratings monster, won the slot with a 1.5 rating and 7.77 million viewers.

While the 30% drop is particularly significant–and clearly attributable to the show’s failure to retain its premiere audience–the “drop” concept was common to all three ABC shows.

Down from last week’s final 2.4 with 8.09 million viewers ABC’s 8PM drama “Grey’s Anatomy” drew a 2.1 adults 18-49 rating with 7.38 million viewers in this week’s fast nationals. If not adjusted upward in the finals, the numbers would represent season lows for “Grey’s.”

The same fast national data reveals that 9PM drama “Scandal” posted a season low 2.6 adults 18-49 rating with 8.28 million viewers (down from the 3.0 with 9.57 million posted in last week’s finals). An upward adjustment is possible, but no conceivable adjustment would be enough to elevate the “Scandal” numbers above season low levels.

ABC’s Thursday night powerhouse “Scandal” remained a strong performer in its 9PM timeslot–and will surely rank as the leader in adults 18-49–but it endured a notable hit in the overnight household ratings.

Its hit, however, paled in comparison to the fall endured by freshman drama “American Crime.”

Down 14% from last week’s mark, the overnight household rating for Thursday’s “Scandal” clocked in at a 6.4. While there is no guarantee the show’s adults 18-49 rating suffered a similar decline (as an example of the disparity, last week’s adults 18-49 rating slipped even though the show enjoyed a week-over-week gain in the overnight households), the notable overnight drop strongly suggests “Scandal” reached a reduced overall audience this week.

“American Crime,” which led out of that “Scandal,” suffered a considerably sharper 26% decline in the overnights. It followed last week’s 6.1 with a 4.5 overnight household rating this week.

While the weakened lead-in support potentially played a role, the amplified nature of the decline means some must be attributed to the show itself (especially since the 10PM “American Crime” should have been less victimized by Daylight Savings Time than its 9PM lead-in; any impact FOX’s 8-10PM “American Idol” had on “Scandal” would have also been irrelevant to the “Crime” showing). That networks bank on second-week losses (even given their awareness of “Empire”) might have muted the shock, but it does not change the reality of the loss. A notable portion of those who tuned into the pilot did not return for week two.

“Grey’s Anatomy” opened ABC’s night with a 5.8 overnight household rating. It, too, trailed last week’s number (6.5).

Written by Brian Cantor

Brian Cantor is the editor-in-chief for Headline Planet. He has been a leading reporter in the music, movie, television and sporting spaces since 2002.

Brian's reporting has been cited by major websites like BuzzFeed, Billboard, the New Yorker and The Fader -- and shared by celebrities like Taylor Swift, Justin Bieber and Nicki Minaj.

Contact Brian at brian.cantor[at]


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