Here is a note to producers disheartened by the soft opening of their new series — it can still become a hit. You just need to have a showrunner like Shonda Rhimes behind it. Rhimes’ ABC drama Scandal continues to grow, opening its third season with series highs in adults 18-49 (3.6) and total viewers (10.5 million). In 18-49, that was up a whopping 71% from last fall’s Season 2 debut, which in turn was up 5% from the show’s inauspicious midseason debut (2.0). (Can anyone on TV do cliffhangers better than Rhimes?) Scandal also built on its Grey’s Anatomy lead-in by its largest margins ever, 12% in viewers and 20% in 18-49. Grey’s (3.0) was down 12% from last week’s season premiere.

CBS used juggernaut The Big Bang Theory to launch a second new comedy this fall. The Millers (3.3/10) did OK but fell short of The Crazy Ones‘ debut last week (3.9) and Two And A Half Men‘s season premiere in the 8:30 PM slot last fall (3.5). The Crazy Ones opener had a bigger lead-in from a second Big Bang original at 8:30 PM (6.1), while last night’s Big Bang (5.0) was down 9% from last week’s 8 PM episode. Following The Millers, Crazy Ones (2.9) dropped 26% from its premiere. Two And A Half Men (2.4) was down 17% for a series low, while Elementary (2.0) was down 5%. Still, CBS edged ABC for the top spot in 18-49 (2.9 vs. 2.8), winning comfortably in total viewers (11.7 million). (more…)