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'How to Get Away With Murder' finale strong -- even without 'Scandal'

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Mitchell Haaseth/ABC

How to Get Away With Murder concluded its first season—yes, so soon!—on a strong note in the ratings. ABC’s freshman drama wrapped its unusual 15-episode debut-season order with a two-hour closer Thursday night that delivered 9 million viewers and a 2.8 rating among adults 18-49. Even without a Scandal lead-in this week, Murder dominated its block and held steady in the adult demo. The legal soap also scored its highest number of viewers since its post-hiatus return in January. 

What’s interesting is how Murder was the show everybody was talking about—until Fox’s Empire came along. Suddenly Murder‘s strong ratings seemed to shrink when compared to Empire, which has delivered an incredible seven consecutive weeks of viewership gains and a more exciting story for the media to grab onto. Still, the success of Murder, and showrunner Shonda Rhimes’ triple-header domination on Thursday nights this season, remains a huge accomplishment. Broadcast TV is lucky to have more than one happy tale to brag about this season. 

Also Thursday:

— The second week of CBS’ The Odd Couple (4 million, 2.8) held up pretty well, only falling about 10 percent from last week’s premiere.

— CBS’ attempt to duplicate the success of its annual Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show special with the Sports Illustrated Swim Special (was it really about swimming?) had a modest 4 million viewers and a 1.0 rating among adults 18-49. 

— People are still not watching NBC’s The Slap (3.6 million, 0.7) or freshman drama Allegiance (3.6 million, 0.8). 

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