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TV ratings: 'Scandal's' Season 3 ends strong

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The third season finale of ABC's Beltway drama "Scandal" was high in emotion and ratings. 

According to early numbers from Nielsen, Thursday's season closer drew 10.5 million viewers overall and a rating of 3.4 among key 18-to-49-year-olds, marking the series' highest rated finale yet and its second highest rated episode ever.

The series high was the Season 3 premiere, in which the show returned from a major cliffhanger. 

'SCANDAL' RECAP: Olivia flies off into the sunset ... for now

Compared with the Season 2 finale, Thursday night's episode was up 15% in total viewership and 6% in 18-49. 

ABC won the night in the 18-49 demo, notching an average of 2.2 -- where a ratings point equals roughly 1.3 million viewers -- driven by "Scandal," which posted Thursday's best 18-49 rating.  

CBS was all reruns except for a double dose of Robin Williams' "The Crazy Ones" to end its season. A special 9 p.m. episode drew a 1.6 in 18-49, while the 9:30 p.m. finale scored a modest 1.3. 

Fox generated weekly gains with "Hell's Kitchen" and "American Idol." The Gordon Ramsay cooking show rose 21% to a 1.7 in 18-49 this week, whereas the veteran sing-off competition  improved 12% to a 1.9. However, the new comedy "Surviving Jack" sunk to a low 1.0 whereas its total viewership held generally steady. 

NBC's "Parenthood" rose week-to-week in its season finale by 18% to a 1.3. "Community" recovered a bit from last week's low to a 1.0 with its season finale, though it was down from last season's closer. "Parks & Recreation" fell to a series low of 0.9. 

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ryan.faughnder@latimes.com

Twitter: @rfaughnder

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TelevisionEntertainmentScandal (tv program)ABCCommunity (tv program)Hell's Kitchen (tv program)
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