Shonda Rhimes is the queen of television dramas. She has a talent in creating dynamic and groundbreaking characters and putting them into high-stakes dramatic settings. While originally breaking into hollywood through the long-running ABC medical drama Grey’s Anatomy, Rhimes has gone on to create five more television series. Currently, she and her production company essentially own a night of the week on ABC, called TGIT. Every Thursday has a 3-hour block of Shonda shows in a row- Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, and How To Get Away With Murder.
While the concept of an all-Shonda night of television seems self-serving and rather brilliant, the results haven’t been what ABC was hoping for. Ratings for TGIT have been declining steadily this year, and this past week was no exception. TV line is reporting some pretty dismal numbers, including an all-time low for some of Shonda Rhimes’ shows.
According to the immediate numbers, not including DVR recordings, both Scandal and How To Get Away With Murder tied their series lows in viewership last week. Scandal, which was absent from previous week’s programming, didn’t see any surge for it’s return, and only achieved a 1.7 rating for adults 18-49 years of age. While How To Get Away With Murder had even lower numbers, the drama is only in its sophomore season on ABC, and is on a bit late for a weekday. Scandal, conversely, is in the middle of its fifth season, and should have vastly more loyal viewers.
Grey’s Anatomy has been having the best ratings of the night, with 7.5 million viewers and a 2.1 rating. Considering that Grey’s has been on for 12 seasons, there is still a rabid fan base who is interested in the surgeons of Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital.
So what exactly is the problem here? Many TGIT fans do watch more than one of the dramas. It should be a recipe for success- with viewers camping on their couch every Thursday night and letting their TV play all three of Shonda Rhimes’ shows. Scandal, in particular, should have the bleed over from Grey’s fans, especially since its timeslot is pretty ideal: 9pm.
Perhaps the sheer amount of drama between the three shows is hindering them individually. As a fan of both Grey’s and HTGAWM, Thursday is certainly an exhausting night of television. There are so many twists, turns, and WTF moments in the shows, that it may be a bit too much for the average viewer. I guess I drink the Shonda Kool-aid, as I usually leave Scandal on in the background while I take the break between my two shows.
Despite the low ratings for TGIT, all three of the dramas have been renewed by ABC. Only time will tell if these numbers continue to decline in viewership next year.
TGIT airs Thursday nights on ABC.