UPDATE: In updated nationals from Nielsen released Friday afternoon, ABC’s “Grey’s Anatomy” (2.8 rating/9 share in adults 18-49, 8.71 million viewers overall) and “How to Get Away With Murder” (3.1/10 in 18-49, 9.18 million viewers overall) edged up a tenth while “Scandal” (3.6/11 in 18-49, 10.48 million viewers overall) held at its prelim demo score but picked up some in total viewers.

ABC’s nightly 18-49 average of 3.2 (up from 3.1 this morning) is the net’s best on the opening night of the February sweep since 2008.

Elsewhere, CBS’ “The Big Bang Theory” was revised up a tick (4.5/15 in 18-49, 17.25 million viewers overall), coming within a tenth of its best score since returning to Thursdays in late October. “Mom” held at its 2.8 rating in 18-49, making it a series high; also, the 62% retention of “Big Bang Theory” is  the show’s best to date opposite an episode of “Grey’s Anatomy.


One week from its first head-to-head showdown with NBC’s “The Blacklist,” ABC’s drama heavyweight “Scandal” looked very strong in its return Thursday, teaming with “TGIT” skedmates “Grey’s Anatomy” and “How to Get Away With Murder” to lift the Alphabet to victory in key demos.

Elsewhere, CBS’ “The Big Bang Theory” was Thursday’s top-rated show, and lead-out “Mom” appeared to hit series highs behind it despite facing “Grey’s” for the first time. And NBC’s “Parenthood” said goodbye with its best scores in three seasons.

According to preliminary national estimates from Nielsen, ABC’s winning night opened with “Grey’s Anatomy” (2.7 rating/9 share in adults 18-49, 8.6 million viewers overall), which placed second to CBS’ comedy hour but ahead of Fox’s “American Idol” (2.2/7 in 18-49, 9.2 million viewers overall), as the reality show clearly felt the effect of stronger competition in its timeslot.

For “Grey’s,” which like “Scandal” and “Murder” was airing its first original episode since its fall finale on Nov. 20, the 2.7 tops seven of the fall’s eight airings (behind only its premiere). It was up 0.3 from its fall finale (and likely 0.4 in the nationals).

The medical drama led into the winter premiere of “Scandal” (3.6/11 in 18-49, 10.4 million viewers overall), which similarly came back with best-since-season premiere scores and dominated the 9 o’clock hour. It was up a big 0.5 from its fall finale and also up 0.2 from its winter premiere of last season.

And closing out the night, “How to Get Away With Murder” (3.0/10 in 18-49, 9.1 million viewers overall) was in line with its fall finale score and easily led the 10 p.m. timeslot in 18-49, matching the combined scores of the dramas on NBC (“Parenthood”) and CBS (“Elementary”).

According to Nielsen, a total of 738,000 Tweets were sent by 192,000 people on Thursday about “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Scandal” and “How to Get Away with Murder” on ABC.

At CBS, “The Big Bang Theory” (4.4/15 in 18-49, 17.0 million viewers overall) dominated Thursday’s opening half-hour, coming in a bit below its most recent original of three weeks ago but winning its timeslot by a commanding 6 shares over “Grey’s Anatomy” and by 8 shares over “American Idol.” (“Big Bang,” which looks likely to edge up to 4.5 in the nationals, will finish as the week’s top series in 18-49, slightly ahead of Fox’s “Empire.”)

“Big Bang” led into what appear to be series highs for “Mom” (2.8/9 in 18-49, 11.8 million viewers overall), a tick above the 2.7 it did three weeks ago behind a 4.6 for “Big Bang.” This is an impressive showing for “Mom” given the much tougher competition this time around; it led its 8:30 p.m. timeslot in 18-49 (tied with “Grey’s Anatomy”), 25-54 (4.0/11) and total viewers.

Three weeks from its series finale, “Two and a Half Men” (2.3/7 in 18-49, 9.7 million viewers overall) followed at 9 with a second-place finish, coming within a tick of its season high. “The McCarthys” was about average at 9:30 (1.6/5 in 18-49, 7.1 million viewers overall), and “Elementary” was back on the low side (1.3/4 in 18-49, 7.6 million viewers overall) opposite tougher competition.

CBS led the night in total viewers, with “Mom” the No. 2 show behind “The Big Bang Theory.”

NBC, which shifts to a new, all-drama lineup starting next week, closed out January with the two-hour finale of “The Biggest Loser” (1.4/4 in 18-49, 5.3 million viewers overall) and the series ender of “Parenthood” (1.7/5 in 18-49, 5.5 million viewers overall). The reality show delivered its best demo rating since its pre-season premiere on Sept. 11, and the family drama rose about 30% week to week to post its best demo rating since its finale of the 2012-13 season (when it aired on Tuesdays).

At third-place Fox, “Idol” was down about 20% from last week and led into the second week of “Backstrom” (1.4/4 in 18-49, 5.3 million viewers overall), which was down in the vicinity of 25%.

CW’s “The Vampire Diaries” (0.7/2 in 18-49, 1.5 million viewers overall) and “Reign” (0.4/1 in 18-49, 1.0 million viewers overall) were about average despite the stepped-up competition.

Preliminary 18-49 averages for the night: ABC, 3.1/10; CBS, 2.3/7; Fox, 1.8/5; NBC, 1.5/5; CW, 0.5/2.

In total viewers: CBS, 10.2 million; ABC, 9.4 million; Fox, 7.3 million; NBC, 5.4 million; CW, 1.2 million.