‘Scandal’ Sizzles, ‘Crazy Ones’ Fizzles in Finales Thursday

ABC's 'Jimmy Kimmel Live' follows with top 11:35 p.m. rating yet

Kerry Washington Emmys

ABC’s “Scandal” closed its season very strong on Thursday, delivering the show’s best-ever finale numbers and its second highest rating overall. Not so hot in its exit on the night was CBS rookie comedy “The Crazy Ones,” which didn’t help its renewal with a modest one-hour season finale.

The strong finish to the night for ABC extended to latenight, where “Jimmy Kimmel Live” posted its highest overnight rating (3.4/8 share) in the 15 months it has been on at 11:35 p.m. — winning the night with a special “Scandal”-themed hour. NBC’s “Tonight Show” and CBS’ “Late Show” both did a 2.1/5 with repeat episodes, according to Nielsen.

Looking at primetime, ABC opened Thursday with an encore “Grey’s Anatomy” (0.8 rating/3 share in adults 18-49, 3.4 million viewers overall), followed by an original episode (2.5/8 in 18-49, 8.1 million viewers overall), which was in line with last week and again led its hour in key demos.

Surging from there, “Scandal” dominated at 10 p.m. (3.4/10 in 18-49, 10.5 million viewers overall), rising 13% week-to-week in 18-49 and 6% vs. its year-ago finale (3.2); the only episode of “Scandal” to rate higher was its season premiere last September (3.6). For the season, in the most recent L+7 numbers available, original episodes of “Scandal” were pacing 35% ahead of last year in adults 18-49 (4.6 to 3.2) to make it the season’s biggest year-over-year gainer.

On a night with no original “The Big Bang Theory” on CBS, “Scandal” was easily Thursday’s No. 1 show in 18-49 and 25-54 (3.9/10) and ABC won the night in the key demos as well. The ABC drama ended its season early due to the pregnancy of star Kerry Washington, delivering 18 instead of the usual 22 episodes.

CBS, which ran second on the night in demos (tied with Fox in 18-49, won in 25-54) and was a narrow winner in total viewers, aired back-to-back episodes of “The Big Bang Theory” at 8 (2.2/8 in 18-49, 9.7 million viewers overall) and 8:30 (2.6/9 in 18-49, 10.8 million viewers overall), with the latter the night’s most-watched program overall. It was followed by the hourlong season finale of “The Crazy Ones” (1.5/5 in 18-49, 5.8 million viewers overall), which despite having a slightly stronger lead-in this week, was down a bit; it also fell off on the half-hour in both 18-49 (1.6 to 1.3) and total viewers (6.3 million to 5.4 million). A special repeat of “NCIS” (1.0/3 in 18-49, 6.0 million viewers overall) closed the night for the Eye.

At Fox, “Hell’s Kitchen” (1.7/6 in 18-49, 4.8 million viewers overall) was up 21% week to week (0.3) to place second for its hour, benefiting from the lack of CBS original comedies as well as less reality competition (ABC aired a special “Shark Tank” a week ago). It was followed by “American Idol” (1.9/6 in 18-49, 7.9 million viewers overall), which edged up, and “Surviving Jack” (1.0/3 in 18-49, 4.3 million viewers overall) was down two tenths.

NBC opened with the season finale of “Community” (1.0/4 in 18-49, 2.9 million viewers overall), which was up a tenth from last week but still netted less than half the young-adult audience of the repeat “Big Bang” on CBS (1.0 vs. 2.2). It was followed by “Parks and Recreation” (0.9/3 in 18-49, 2.4 million viewers overall), “Hollywood Game Night” (0.9/3 in 18-49, 3.2 million viewers overall) and the season finale of “Parenthood” (1.3/4 in 18-49, 4.0 million viewers overall), with the drama up 18% (0.2) from last week.

Last season, “Community” closed with a 1.3, and “Parenthood” a 1.8. Neither show, both of which just ended their fifth seasons, was among the programs already renewed by NBC for next season, so their fate won’t be known until next month.

At CW, “The Vampire Diaries” (0.7/2 in 18-49, 1.7 million viewers overall) was down a tenth from its prior original, and “Reign” (0.4/1 in 18-49, 1.4 million viewers overall) matched its week-ago score behind a “Vampire Diaries” repeat.

Preliminary 18-49 averages for the night: ABC, 2.2/7; CBS and Fox, 1.6/5; NBC, 1.0/3; CW, 0.6/2.

In total viewers: CBS, 7.4 million; ABC, 7.3 million; Fox, 5.5 million; NBC, 3.3 million; CW, 1.5 million.