Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton went head-to-head in another Democratic debate on PBS and CNN last night, but the real news on Thursday’s primetime was the return of Shondaland from its winter break. With a jarring Grey’s Anatomy (2.4/8), Scandal (2.1/7) and a heart-stopping How To Get Away With Murder (1.8/6) back, ABC tied with a steady American Idol (2.1/7) on Fox for the top stop among adults 18-49 for the night. That’s a 90% overall jump for ABC over the Madoff-heavy night of February 4.
While the net was up big, individually TGIT’s shows all came back down. Grey’s, the second-highest-rated show of last night, dipped 4% from its last of original November 19. However, Scandal dropped 12% among the key demo, while HTGAWM saw the biggest decline with a 22% fall from its fall finale. Season-to-season, the numbers were bruising too for the D.C.- based Scandal and HTGAWM: The former was down 34% from its Season 4 winter return of February 5 last year, while the latter fell 33% from its Season 1 return. Year-to-year, Grey’s was spared with a 4% lift over its Season 11 return last February.
The highest-rated and most-watched show of the night was, no surprise, The Big Bang Theory ( (15.98 million total viewers, 3.8/14). What is likely a pleasant piece of heart-shaped chocolate for CBS is that the 8 PM Valentine’s Day-themed episode also saw a rise of a tenth from last week. Life In Pieces (2.1/7) dipped 5% among the 18-49s from last week for the net. With a BBT repeat taking over last night for the now-canned Angel From Hell, Mom (1.7/6) and Elementary (1.1/4) were both even with their February 3 shows.
Despite the noticeable increase in 10 PM competition with HTGAWM, NBC’s Shades Of Blue (1.1/4) stayed even last night. The JLo series wasn’t the only one in a holding pattern ,with the CW’s DC’s Legends Of Tomorrow (0.9/3) coming in even with its February 3 show. Lead-out The 100 (0.5/2) was down 16%.
Unlike Shades, the earlier part of NBC’s night saw a dip for You, Me And The Apocalypse (0.8/3) and The Blacklist (1.4/4) – both were down a tenth.