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'Scandal' Season 3 Debuts w/ Historic Ratings! 10.5 Million Viewers + 712,877 Tweets

by Tambay A. Obenson
October 4, 2013 2:20 PM
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Scandal Season 2

Shocking! Ok, not really.

Last night's season premiere of Scandal was a hit, drawing the largest number of viewers in its history! 

How many? 10.5 million (a 3.6 rating) tuned in, giving the ABC drama series highs in total viewers and Adults 18-49. It was the #2 TV show of the entire night in Adults 18-49, behind only CBS' The Big Bang Theory. So it did even better than the show that comes on before it - another Shonda Rhimes drama, Grey's Anatomy, which is also doing very well for the network.

To compare its season 1 and 2 premiere episodes:

- Season 1's Scandal premiere drew 7.3 million.

- Season 2's Scandal premiere drew 6.7 million.

Regarding social media activity - where the series, its cast and crew set the standard: The Scandal premiere delivered 712,877 tweets, which is the show's highest social delivery to date and stood as the #1 most social series on Thursday night.

Even the Scandal recap special, which brought audiences up to speed, and ready for season 3, beat programming on other networks, in its 8-9pm time-slot. It drew an impressive 5.7 million viewers! Some regular series would love to have those numbers. This was a recap special!

But clearly it's attracted a healthy number of new viewers, which is a very good thing for the series, its stars, writing staff, creator and fans. And while I'd posit that the series' audience comprises heavily of black women, I'm sure there are also quite a few non-black white women (and men) who tune in as well. I won't be surprised if ABC announces, before the season is over, that Scandal has been renewed for a 4th season, with numbers like this, that only seem to continue to improve.

I'm sure a lot of you watched. I couldn't, but I'll catch up eventually. So I can't offer any valuable commentary. But, by all means, if you tuned in, was it all you hoped it would be, and more?

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  • Renee | October 8, 2013 11:25 PMReply

    I'm new to watching Scandal the show is really good...yes their are a lot of white men who have fallen in love & marry black women despite what society thinks.

  • C. Kay | October 6, 2013 1:38 PMReply

    We're never satisfied. We didn't like it when the law prevented interracial marriages. We were outraged! Now some of us are mad because there ARE interracial relationships and marriages. We attach to them, all kinds of negatives. I've been sublimely married to my white husband for 34 years and none of the so-called negative stereotypes apply. Contrary to the most common belief, we didn't seek each other. It just happened. Why does it always have to be, we're being used, or we're just sex objects, or black men aren't good enough, or black women aren't pretty enough, etc., etc. How about some of us got married or are in interracial relationships because we actually love each other! The stares my husband and I continually get when we go out indicate that not many folks, black or white, even consider that possibility...

  • Huh | October 5, 2013 1:35 PMReply

    'Non-black white women,' you say? Hmmm. As opposed to what? 'Black white women?'

  • Lorraine Currelley | October 5, 2013 4:43 AMReply

    Being politically and socially conscious prevents me from viewing Scandal simply as fiction. It is impossible for me not to view it through a historical lens and it's overall subliminal message. Once again, the Black woman has been reduced to the sexual property of White males for their pleasure. As a self respecting Black woman I take no pleasure in seeing a Black woman objectified. I take no pleasure in a message being sent to Black women and girls, that this is our only worth. We will always be AmeriKKKA's mistresses and never her wives.

    After all, everyone knows Blacks are incapable of having committed loving relationships and marriages. Thus Olivia Pope's engagement to the Black male character ends. Once again, White males can satisfy their jungle fever fantasies. This is coupled with the erroneous belief that Black women prefer bedding White males versus having strong, committed relationships and marriages to Black men.
    Scandal has plantation and racial politics written all over it.

    The shows creator is nothing more than feeding White male fantasies and getting paid for it.Those invested in Scandal attempt to justify the subjugation of the Black woman. Many Black actresses are desperate for roles and will do anything to land a role and so-called stardom. Hallie Berry had to screw a White male in in order to win her Oscar need I say more. This appears to be the price of the ticket.

    Black males are not jealous of these relationships, they are insulted by Hollywood's continued racist mythology of Blacks and obsession with Black sexuality!

  • Afrostyling | October 7, 2013 12:49 PM

    You need to calm down and go eat some wings or fries. Its not that serious bruh.

  • Miles Ellison | October 5, 2013 12:53 PM

    Change the channel. I think Basketball Wives is probably on.

  • Rane | October 5, 2013 11:27 AM

    @LORRAINE CURRELLEY...Your merely looking at the optics but I'd guess you've not watched this show often or you'd know that the characters, Olivia and Fitz are truly in love and love is irrational and imperfect. She is not his sidepiece, whore or any of the lowly things you're thinking of. Is your problem with the show that you really think it's impossible for a white man to truly love a black woman? Why? Think long and hard on that one. That's on you! Your own lens refracted by personal bias. Your blanket denigration of black women in interracial relationships as being only objects of white men's jungle fever fantasies speaks to your own prejudice and ignorance. If the show is feeding any fantasy, it's female driven; being loved by a man willing to sacrifice everything to be with you.

  • Mia | October 5, 2013 8:45 AM


    then you must not watch much tv....
    you clearly can't tell what's real and what's fiction and damn good acting..
    I don't even get why people like YOU even bother to comment..... if you don't like black women with white men or black men with white women then shut up and keep it to yourself.. and go into a closet and loose the key...

  • Christian | October 4, 2013 10:03 PMReply

    I love, love, love this show. I have been a gladiator since season 1. This is the best show on television. It is amazingly written and phenomenally acted. I can't get enough of Scandal.

  • CDJ | October 4, 2013 9:45 PMReply

    It exceeded my expectations. I wrote a whole summary on the G.I.S Scandalites FB page! *spoiler alert*...its a review of the LESSONS learned from the show.. I do it after every episode! Itt was amazing...its an open group...anyone can join!

  • ScandalFan | October 4, 2013 9:02 PMReply

    Exceptional Premiere! I don't think I exhaled during the scene with Fitz, Liv, and Mellie. Incredible show. Incredible writing. Incredible cast! Shonda Rhimes truly has a winner. I don't want the drama to end!

  • dee | October 4, 2013 4:09 PMReply

    Very good opening show. A lot of ppl don't watch Scandal. Political Dramas are not everyone's cup of tea.

  • Mia | October 5, 2013 8:46 AM

    they don't know what their missing...

  • Ronda | October 4, 2013 3:02 PMReply

    I just wish Oprah could work with Shonda and create something as good for OWN. Then you'd see OWN really pull in some major numbers. Right now, I only watch OWN on Sundays. I'm not knocking Tyler Perry, he's just not my cup of tea. I realize Shonda probably has a first-look deal with ABC but still...

  • beemooree | October 4, 2013 2:50 PMReply

    BTW did anyone noticed how baggage claim and best man holiday were played during scandal commercial breaks? lol. just a thought

  • Carleen | October 4, 2013 2:50 PMReply

    Yes. It was all that. A really big way to kick off the season. I especially appreciated how the show continues to deal with Olivia's race in this episode with dialogue from her father.

  • Lauren | October 4, 2013 6:35 PM

    Rowan's a hypercritical, sadistic, spitting in Olivia's face, nut job of a dad. Don't forget he ordered Jake to seduce and videotape his own daughter having sex!!!!!! To use for his own agenda! Disgusting man! Can't wait till he's killed off!

  • Alias | October 4, 2013 3:05 PM

    @Carleen ... I LOVE how Shonda stealthly injects vital dialogue about race. Joe Morton's long monologue lecturing Olivia about who she is and what they will do to her was brilliant!!!
    You know every black viewer caught that "twice as good line," and knew exactly what his character was talking about. But I wonder if it even resonated with white viewers.

  • beemooree | October 4, 2013 2:49 PMReply

    I honestly didn't think scandal would get 10mil. i thought it would debut in the 8mil range despite the finale having 9mil. 10 mil is good for a show that is hardly advertised

  • Rain | October 6, 2013 7:52 PM

    "You know every black viewer caught that "twice as good line," and knew exactly what his character was talking about." -- A thousand times YES! I wondered who else caught that as well?

  • Sergio | October 4, 2013 2:30 PMReply

    With the way how people keep talking about the show I would have expected those figures to be higher.

    But here's the thing. This all shows how badly the commericals networks are slipping. On cable Walking Dead gets 12 million viwers regularly and the finale of Breaking Bad got the same number as the Scandal's opening got. So it isn't all that impressive.

    And 20-30 years ago. if a network show got 10 million viewers it would have been considered a huge disapointment and possibly iffy it it would be renewed for another season. Back then it was common for a network hit show to get 30 million viewers a week on average. The fact that they're boasting that the episode got 10 and half watchers shows you how radically changed now are the rules for watching TV. I still expect one of the commerical networks to go dark within five years

  • Miles Ellison | October 5, 2013 1:13 PM

    The more telling thing is this: the ratings for Breaking Bad exploded during the final run of episodes. The show regularly drew between 2 and 3 million viewers, numbers that would get a show immediately canceled on a broadcast network. Even before the finale, Breaking Bad was one of the most internet-discussed television shows ever. More than twice the number of people watch the likes of NCIS or The Big Bang Theory, yet nobody cares enough to even talk about those shows. Cable TV's better shows attract interested, engaged audiences who appreciate character development and good writing. Those audiences probably won't go back to broadcast network programming. The big reason why networks are struggling so much is because the audience that is making Breaking Bad, The Walking Dead, and many FX shows so talked about deserted the networks a long time ago. All that's left are people willing to watch "reality" TV and lame "talent" shows.

  • Sergio | October 4, 2013 3:39 PM

    Hey did you pay attention to what I said that: "...shows you how radically changed now are the rules for watching TV" which means those 500 other channels you're refering to. Even if they're getting a handful of viewers every person watching another channel means one less for the the commerical networks. I don't even call them the major commericals networks because they aren't so "major" anymore and even cable TV is hurting. The head of the Cartoon Netrwork a few weeks ago said that Netflix hass hurt badly them in terms on taking away their viewership. And I stand by what i said, the networks are hurting for viewers. They opull in a fraction of what they were reguarly getting years ago if it wasn't for major sports events such as the Super Bowl or the Olympics they would be in a serious world of hurt. I know you like to think that because you read Variety every once and a while you think you everything about media. I have a feeling you're one of those geeks who likes to brag about what you know to the irritation of everyone.

  • FactChecker | October 4, 2013 3:18 PM

    @Sergio, first of all "Regularly," means on a consistent basis, as in EVERY week. TWD DOES NOT pull in 12 mil viewers EVERY week that it airs. It has pulled in those numbers only during each of it's series finales. Get your facts straight before you start bloviating.

    And secondly, learn to live in the present. How is what 10 million viewers would have meant 20-30 years ago relevant to today's conversation when there are 500 channels available to viewers?

    And thirdly, the only reason there's 497 other mostly useless channels that few of us are watching is BECAUSE of the three legacy networks who own many of those mostly useless, throwaway channels that no one wants or is watching. If anything, it will be the mostly useless channels that will be dark sooner than the networks, which still make considerably more in advertising dollars and still pull in more eyeballs.

    And if the economy continues to spiral downward, as it has been, affecting people they way it is, you'll see even more people cut the cord from cable. ... But they'll still be able to receive their broadcast channels.

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