The first-season finale of "How to Get Away With Murder" handed ABC a ratings victory in the key young-adults demographic Thursday night, according to Nielsen.
The two-hour finale for the Viola Davis drama helped ABC notch a rating of 2.6 among advertiser-desired 18-to-49-year-old viewers in prime time, the highest rating of the night among the major networks.
However, the Disney-owned network came in behind rival CBS in total viewers, averaging 8.5 million compared with CBS' 8.7 million.
"How to Get Away With Murder" averaged 9 million viewers total over two hours, and scored a rating of 2.8 in the key demo. It was up slightly from last week in total viewers and flat in the 18-49 category.
Leading into "Murder" was "Grey's Anatomy" (7.5 million total, 2.2 in 18-49).
"The Big Bang Theory" led the night for CBS with 16.3 total viewers and a 4.5 in 18-49, followed by a solid showing from the second episode of "The Odd Couple."
The Matthew Perry-Thomas Lennon comedy (based on the 1965 Neil Simon play) earned a 2.8 in the 18-49 demo, down just 10% from its premiere. It delivered 11 million viewers total. Meanwhile, the Victoria's Secret swimsuit special attracted 4 million viewers and a mere 1.0 in 18-49.
NBC's "The Blacklist" managed to increase 6% to a 1.8 in 18-49 despite heavy competition from the "Murder" finale. "The Slap" continued to slog through with a 0.7 in the key demo.
Fox's "American Idol" pulled a 2.1 and 9.3 million viewers, while freshman crime comedy "Backstrom" held steady week-to-week with a 1.0.