<p>Ellen Pompeo of &quot;Grey&#39;s Anatomy&quot;</p>

Ellen Pompeo of "Grey's Anatomy"

Credit: ABC

Ratings Analysis: Shonda Rhimes Thursday is off to a strong start

'Scandal' hits series highs, while 'Grey's Anatomy' kicks off the night well

Like Dorothy Gale coming to the conclusion that in order to find her hearts desire she need look no further than her own backyard, ABC has apparently discovered that the secret to Thursday 8 p.m. success was in the network's Thursday lineup all along. 

ABC premiered "Shonda Rhimes Presents: Thursday Primetime" on Thursday (September 25) night and the results presumably exceeded all expectations, as "Scandal" hit series highs, "How To Get Away With Murder" delivered powerhouse 10 p.m. numbers and, even in its 11th season, "Grey's Anatomy" proved it still has plenty of ratings juice.

And as well as the three ABC dramas performed in preliminary Fast National numbers, all three dramas rose in Final Live+Same Day ratings.

So for one week, at least, ABC has found a Thursday 8 p.m. hit and seemingly successfully launched a Wednesday 9:30 success in "Black-ish." And although "Forever" doesn't look like it's a blockbuster, the network's standards for Tuesday at 10 p.m. are so absurdly low that the new drama looks like a lock for improvement if not success.

ABC Entertainment President Paul Lee, who looked like he might be on the ropes last spring before a positive launch for "Resurrection," is having a pretty good Premiere Week. How about you?

Let's look at some numbers...

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<p>&quot;How To Get Away With Murder&quot;</p>

"How To Get Away With Murder"

Credit: ABC

TV Ratings: Big 'How To Get Away With Murder' premiere upstages Thursday Night Football

'Scandal' also delivers big numbers in its 9 p.m. premiere

Fast National ratings for Thursday, September 25, 2014.

ABC's Shonda Rhimes Thursday got off to a terrific start in its first week, edging out CBS' Thursday Night Football overall and putting up strong key demo numbers as well. 

The biggest success for ABC was the tremendous launch for "How To Get Away With Murder," which comfortably outdrew its "Scandal" lead-in and tied with the Kerry Washington smash in the key demo. But even "Grey's Anatomy" seemed rejuvenated in its new time period.

CBS' coverage of the Thursday Night Football game between the Giants and Washington still led the night among young viewers, of course, and although ABC had a slim overall win, football tends to tick up in Finals, so there's a good chance CBS will come out on top overall as well when Live+Same Day analysis takes place.

Meanwhile, "Parenthood" and "Bones" did standard numbers in their latest premieres, while getting upstaged by ABC and CBS.

On to the numbers...

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<p>The premiere of ABC&#39;s &quot;Black-ish&quot;</p>

The premiere of ABC's "Black-ish"

Credit: ABC

Ratings Analysis: 'Black-ish' debuts strong, 'Laura' audience is big and old

'The Goldbergs' gets a big bump, 'Red Band Society' struggles again

So you spend your morning at temple for Rosh Hashanah and you miss Fast National ratings and then you pull up Final Live+Same Day ratings for Wednesday, September 24 and...

Stop it with the "Mysteries of Laura," America! Although the Debra Messing dramedy took a drop from last week's post-"AGT" sneak among young viewers, it still drew over 10 million viewers in its first Wednesday 8 p.m. airing, which is a success of almost mind-boggling magnitude. 

It's such a big success that it thoroughly distracts me from nearly all of Wednesday's other notables, which include a terrific premiere for "Black-ish," an impressively consistent return for the new season of "Survivor" and a solid time period transfer for "The Goldbergs."

Things weren't all entirely positive. "Modern Family" and "The Middle" were both down from last year's premieres, while "Red Band Society" remains unable to attract an audience beyond young female viewers.

Let's get down to some analysis, starting with...

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<p>John Rocker</p>

John Rocker

Credit: CBS

Recap: 'Survivor: San Juan Del Sur' Premiere - 'Suck It Up and Survive'

'Survivor: Anybody Other Than John Rocker' premieres with a 90 minute episode

Arrivals. Welcome to the start of "Survivor: Seriously Anybody Other Than John Rocker" or, as CBS seems to want to call it, "Survivor: San Juan Del Sur," or "Survivor: Blood vs Water - Newbies Edition." As usual, Jeff Probst arrives via helicopter, scaring the nine pairs of loved ones down on the beaches. Once again, each pair is in isolation, where they've been given flint and told to prepare and enjoy a night together. Jaclyn is Ms Michigan, while Jon played football at Michigan State, but they don't want to be viewed as threatening. And speaking of "threatening," Veteran media-blamer (and current member of the media) John Rocker blames the media for labeling him a bigot, while Julie doesn't want to be judged for her boobs. [Oh yeah! We've got monkeys!] Missy and Baylor are the first to experience my new favorite simian characters. Missy is frequently divorced and Baylor stands behind her, especially when it comes to avoiding monkeys. Brothers Drew and Alec have a rivalry, with Alec wanting to beat his big bro. Farmer Dale and daughter Kelly have had an up-and-down relationship, but they're hoping to get close again. Josh and Reed are already making fire and catching crabs, which may stem from Reed's first Valentine's Day gift of flint. Married Val and Jeremy are competitive about their emergency professions and the game. And as for Nadiya and Natalie? They're praying. It appears Natalie had bleached the end of her hair so that I can recognizer her. And then there are amusingly bickering Louisiana firefighters Keith and Wes, who are having trouble with getting fire going. 

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<p>Julie Chen of &quot;Big Brother&quot;</p>

Julie Chen of "Big Brother"

Credit: CBS

CBS renews 'Big Brother' for Seasons 17 and 18

Either Derrick, Cody or Victoria will win the top prize tonight

On the verge of completing a season that combined high ratings with relatively little controversy, "Big Brother" has been renewed for two additional seasons by CBS.

CBS announced on Wednesday (September 24), just hours before the Season 16 finale, that "Big Brother" Seasons 17 and 18 are set for the summers of 2015 and 2016 respectively.

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<p>Tuesday&#39;s &quot;New Girl&quot;</p>

Tuesday's "New Girl"

Credit: FOX

Ratings Analysis: FOX struggles, 'S.H.I.E.L.D.' bumps up, good times roll for 'NCIS: NOLA'

'Forever' isn't huge, but it's the best ABC's had on Tuesday at 10 for years

I dunno about you, but I'm already getting disturbed by the fact that we're two days into the 2014-2015 season and we're largely disaster-free.

OK. That's not exactly true. 

FOX's Tuesday is a disaster. Yes, "Utopia" gets a bigger DVR bump that most reality shows. That's a dud. And yes, "The Mindy Project" will get a nice DVR bump and it's a really good show at this point, but those numbers aren't acceptable. I'll let "New Girl" skate by for a while, just because it isn't FOX's biggest problem. 

But leaving FOX's Tuesday aside... No disasters.

Tuesday's big new premiere was "NCIS: New Orleans" and it drew a massive audience, one that it's hard to imagine any new show topping over the next couple weeks.

And Tuesday's other premiere was ABC's "Forever," which didn't do fantastically, but when the bar was set by "Lucky 7," "Mind Games" and "Killer Women" last season... It's a hit!

"Chicago Fire" came back strong.

"NCIS" remains impressive.

And although nobody's jumping around for joy at the numbers for "Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.," at least they went up from Fast Nationals.

Now let's take a deeper look at Tuesday's Live+Same Day ratings...

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<p>&quot;The Vampire Diaries&quot; Season 6 art</p>

"The Vampire Diaries" Season 6 art

Credit: The CW

8 'Vampire Diaries' Season 6 teases from showrunner Caroline Dries

Most importantly: Are we done with doppelgangers?

On Monday (September 22) morning, The CW invited a handful of reporters to break up the madness of premiere week with a screening of the sixth season premiere of "The Vampire Diaries," which will air on October 2.

I'm not going to tell you much about the premiere both because it's a [relatively] long way off and because many of the salient plot points are embargoed. 

But mostly, I'm not quite ready to give more than a quick gut opinion. I felt like Season 5 was frequently over-extended and repetitive, but the finale also set in motion a number of shifts which, if utilized correctly, could clear a lot of the clutter from Mystic Falls. In turn, the premiere is mostly resetting the pieces. How's Elena handling the events of the finale? Poorly! How's Jeremy handling the events of the finale? Poorly! How're Stefan, Caroline, Matt and The Witch Twins handling the events of the finale? Poorly! And how is Alaric handling being alive again and whatnot? Poorly! That doesn't mean it's a depressing premiere, just that there's a lot of flux and, unlike last year's premiere, nobody is wandering around hubristically talking about how it was the best summer ever.

And what's up with Damon and Bonnie? Come on. You know I can't tell you anything.

But I can offer some hints about the season-to-come, thanks to "Vampire Diaries" showrunner Caroline Dries, who dropped by after the screening to answer some probing queries from the press.

I'm sure there are minor spoilers if you want to go into the new season knowing nothing, but otherwise...

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Credit: CBS

TV Ratings: Big 'NCIS: New Orleans' premiere, rising 'Voice' lead Tuesday

'Forever' grows its audience from 'Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.'

Fast National ratings for Tuesday, September 23, 2014.

CBS got a huge audience for the premiere of "NCIS: New Orleans" and dominated Premiere Week Tuesday overall, while "The Voice" rose from Monday's so-so launch to combine with "Chicago Fire" to give NBC the night among young viewers.

The numbers weren't all great for CBS, of course, as "NCIS" was well below last year's premiere and "Person of Interest" probably squandered much more of its lead-in audience than the network would want.

The night's other significant new series premiere was ABC's "Forever," which equalled Monday's premiere among young viewers and grew from its less-than-impressive (but comparable to May's finale) "Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." lead-in. So anybody -- that'd be me -- who speculated that the Tuesday 10 p.m. Death Slot might doom "Forever" to a quick end appears to have been wrong.

Finally, after premiering its Tuesday lineup last week, FOX saw "Utopia," "New Girl" and "The Mindy Project" all dip.

More analysis later with Live+Same Day Finals. Now, on to the Fast National numbers...

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<p>&quot;The Big Bang Theory&quot;</p>

"The Big Bang Theory"

Ratings Analysis: 'Big Bang' is unstoppable, 'Gotham' strong, 'Blacklist' steady

'Scorpion' has a big launch, but how much of that is lead-in?

We're one day into the 2014-2015 season and thus far there are no losers!

Yes, FOX might have wanted better numbers from "Sleepy Hollow," but in a competitive time period, after a nine-month absence with a huge DVR bump probably coming? Yeah, a 2.0 rating in the key demo will suffice for now.

Yes, NBC may not have wanted such a big drop from last fall for "The Voice," but when will "The Voice" ever have to face a full hour of "The Big Bang Theory" ever again?

And yes, ABC might have wanted more viewers to check out "Forever," but it was just a chance to get some eyeballs and 8.6 million viewers (17.1-ish million eyeballs) counts. Remember that expectations are very low for ABC's Tuesday 10 p.m. slot after last season.

And there are plenty of early winners.

"Gotham" did a big demo number despite going against a full hour of "Big Bang Theory."

"The Blacklist" was up from last year's finale.

"Scorpion" drew nearly 14 million viewers.

"The Big Bang Theory" remains "The Big Bang Theory."

I started my morning with Fast National ratings for Monday, September 22.

Now it's time to end my afternoon with a deep dig into the Final Live+SD numbers.

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<p>&quot;The Good Wife&quot;</p>

"The Good Wife"

Credit: CBS

Listen: Firewall & Iceberg Podcast No. 248

Dan and Alan review 'Black-ish,' 'How To Get Away With Murder,' 'Transparent' and more


Happy Tuesday, Boys & Girls. 

Time for this week's installment of The Firewall & Iceberg Podcast. 

Last week we doubled things up so that we could both spend an hour wrapping up our "Friday Night Lights" Summer Rewatch, but also so that we could get a head-start on this week's reviewing. 

That means that this podcast contains reviews of new shows including ABC's "Black-ish," ABC's "How To Get Away With Murder" and Amazon's "Transparent." Although we didn't give it a full review, we reminded y'all that "Key & Peele" returns on Wednesday.

And we also answered one piece of Listener Mail about recent TV coverage of the NFL and we discussed Sunday's "Good Wife" premiere and Monday's "Sleepy Hollow" return.

So that's plenty for one podcast. We may need to double up again next week...

Here's today's breakdown:
"Black-ish" (00:01:55 - 00:11:30)
"Key & Peele" (00:11:35 - 00:14:30)
"How To Get Away With Murder" (00:14:30 - 00:29:15)
"Transparent" (00:29:15 - 00:46:05)
Listener Mail - Recent NFL Coverage (00:46:25 - 52:30)
"Good Wife" premiere (00:53:25 - 01:03:45)
"Sleepy Hollow" premiere (01:03:45 - 01:16:55)

As always, you can subscribe to The Firewall & Iceberg Podcast over at the iTunes Store, where you can also rate us and comment on us. [Or you can always follow our RSS Feed or subscribe on IHeartRadio.] 


And as always, feel free to e-mail us questions for the podcast.

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