Big numbers for ABC's night of Rhimes

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NEW YORK (AP) — ABC's night of Shonda Rhimes has gotten off to an impressive start, and it was the newcomer that led the way.

The legal drama starring Viola Davis called "How to Get Away With Murder" was seen by 14.3 million people for its debut Thursday night, the biggest audience for the three series from Rhimes' production company that fill ABC's Thursday evening schedule.

The only two dramas to be seen by more people so far this season are CBS' long-running "NCIS" and the new spinoff, "NCIS: Los Angeles," the Nielsen company said. Among the 18-to-49-year-old demographic that ABC bases its advertising sales upon, "Murder" was the top-rated new series since CBS' "The Crazy Ones" last year.

"Scandal" had 12.2 million viewers Thursday, its largest audience ever, in its new 9 p.m. time slot Thursday, Nielsen said.

Rhimes' third series, "Grey's Anatomy," had 10.1 million viewers.

ABC had put most of its promotional muscle this fall behind "How to Get Away With Murder" and the new comedy "black-ish." A fast start, like one enjoyed by NBC's "The Black List" last fall, can indicate the birth of a new hit. But it's no guarantee: "The Crazy Ones" faded fast and didn't make it past its first season.

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