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ABC Dominates the First Night of the February Sweep with the Return of TGIT

A total of 3.7 million people in the U.S. saw over 527,000 Tweets about Scandal on Thursday, according to Nielsen.
Featuring the return of its TGIT lineup for the first time in over 2 months (since 11/20/14), ABC dominated the opening night of the February Sweep in Adults 18-49 (3.1/10), beating original schedules on CBS by 35% (2.3/7 = 8:00-10:00 p.m. comedies/Elementary), Fox by 72% (1.8/5 = American Idol/Backstrom) and NBC by 107% (1.5/5 = Biggest Loser finale/Parenthood series finale). ABC’s Scandal, How to Get Away with Murder and Grey’s returned as Thursday’s Top 3 dramas. ABC ranked No. 1 in 5 of 6 half-hours of prime in the key sales demo.

ABC was the most social net on Thursday with all three series delivering their 2nd-most-social episodes this season, behind only their respective premieres.Scandal was No. 1 with 527,335 tweets, HTGAWM was No. 2 with 169,154 tweets and Grey’s with 138,632 tweets.

The Net delivered its highest Adult 18-49 rating on the night since season-premiere Thursday – since 9/25/14.In addition, ABC more than tripled its delivery from the year-ago night (1.0/3 on 1/30/14) in Adults 18-49 (+210%)for its top-rated start to a February Sweep in 4 years – since 2/3/11.

At 8 p.m. opposite Big Bang Theory, ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy beat Fox’s American Idol by 23% for 2nd place in the hour among Adults 18-49 (2.7/9 vs. 2.2/7).

Grey’s was up from its Winter Finale (8.3 million and 2.4/7) by 4% in Total Viewers and by 13% in Adults 18-49, drawing its biggest audience since October (since 10/2/14) and marking a best-since-premiere number in young adults.

Scandal (9:00-10:00 p.m. – 10.4 million and 3.6/11 in AD18-49):
At 9 p.m., ABC’s Scandal shot to the top of its hour in Adults 18-49 (3.6/11), besting runner-up CBS’ comedies by 80% (Two and a Half Men/The McCarthys = 2.0/6). Scandal also won its slot in Total Viewers.

Scandal built on its Winter Finale (10.1 million and 3.1/9) by 3% in Total Viewers and by 16% in Adults 18-49, scoring best-since-premiere results on both counts.In fact, it equaled the series’ 2nd-highest-ever rating in Adults 18-49.

How to Get Away with Murder (10:00-11:00 p.m. – 9.1 million and 3.0/10 in AD18-49):
From 10-11 p.m., ABC’s How to Get Away with Murder (3.0/10) picked up right where it left off, ranking a dominant No. 1 in its hour in Adults 18-49 over its CBS (Elementary = 1.3/4) and NBC (Parenthood series finale = 1.7/5) drama competition. In fact, HTGAWM equaled its combined drama competition in Adults 18-49. It was also the most-watched TV show overall in the slot for its 5th straight original telecast.

The ABC freshman drama held even with both its November Sweep L+SD average among Adults 18-49 (2.9/9) and its Winter Finale (3.1/10), to match its 2nd-highest number since the beginning of October – since 10/9/14.

A note about DVR penetration: DVR penetration in the Nielsen sample is currently at 49% in U.S. TV Homes. More viewers are watching shows on their own timetables, which are increasingly not reflected in the overnight Live + Same Day numbers. As a result, the Live + 7 Day ratings are the most accurate measure to gauge the size of the TV audience.

Projections Rationale:
Lifts vs. L+SD are based on the 2014-15 season for premiere telecast or an average for originals (excluding the premiere).
Returning shows: Profile based on same show (either premiere or averages for originals).
New Series: Based on similar series.

Source: The Nielsen Company, Fast Affiliate Live + Same Day Ratings, 01/29/15. Nielsen Socialguide for 01/29/15, Total Tweets +/- 3hrs during telecast.

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