Thursday, July 19, 2018

The Breakdown: ABC Thursday in 2017-18 (Grey's Anatomy, Scandal, How to Get Away with Murder and more!)

It's time for a journey through the ABC Thursday schedule in 2017-18...


2016-17Grey's AnatomyNotoriousHow to Get Away with Murder118
2017-18Grey's AnatomyScandalHow to Get Away with Murder126 (+6%)
187 (+5%)106 (+43%)85 (-17%)

The once-mighty Scandal didn't really make many waves ratings-wise in its final season, but ABC still eked out nightly growth in the fall and the spring because it was compared against some big failures from a year ago. Grey's Anatomy kicked off yet another season of Plus growth. How to Get Away with Murder was compared vs. itself, and it was not a flattering comparison.


2016-17Grey's AnatomyScandalHow to Get Away with Murder141
2017-18Grey's AnatomyScandalHow to Get Away with Murder130 (-8%)
192 (+8%)113 (-17%)87 (-22%)

All three shows got a little uptick in the winter months, but Murder's comparisons got worse because it did not get as much a bounce as last year when Scandal stepped in. This was definitely the best period of the year for Grey's Anatomy, which remarkably opened up the new year with three straight 2.3's.


2016-17Grey's AnatomyScandalThe Catch105
2017-18Grey's AnatomyStation 19Scandal114 (+9%)
158 (+4%)96 (-10%)88 (+62%)

Scandal took a big hit initially in its brief move to the 10/9c hour, but at least got a nice finale spike in late April. Station 19 had a disappointing start (head-to-head with a two-hour episode of Chicago Fire) but held up OK in the post-premiere weeks, still finishing somewhat behind where Scandal was a year ago.

Rating the Ratings

Grey's Anatomy*1.51.932.3-6%176big hit+5%detail
How to Get Away with Murder*0.80.941.1-27%86marginal-19%detail

Grey's Anatomy: This is basically the same raw numbers decline it's taken in each of the last two years, but it looks a little less stellar in Plus due to the smaller league average decline. It definitely had some A periods (like the 2.3's to start the winter), but fell enough in the spring that I will hand it a Grade: A- just to mix things up a bit.

Scandal: It had decidedly easier timeslots on average this year (last year sat out the fall completely and aired deep into May) and yet still managed to decline double digits in Plus in a pre-announced final season. Not the ending this former big hit was hoping for. Grade: C-.

Station 19: Eh. It was uninspiring, but not nearly as bad as some have made it out to be. Grey's has more same-day DVRing than almost anything on broadcast TV, so I'm not too hard on it for retention. But if TGIT is going to endure, this show will have to take it up to another level going forward. Grade: B-.

How to Get Away with Murder: Its timeslots were relatively close to the same difficulty year-to-year, so I would say this was about equally as disappointing as Scandal, especially considering it had seemed to have some good momentum coming into the season. Grade: C-.

The names in this last table link to the shows' War of 18-49 pages. Links with an asterisk(*) have been updated with the new info. Updates to younger shows will come later in the summer.

Here's the now updated Schedules Plus for ABC Thursday.

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