Lots of People Tuned In to Grey’s Anatomy to Watch You Know Who You Know What

Photo: Kelsey McNeal/ABC

Confirmation of last night’s big McDeparture on Grey’s Anatomy just hours before the episode aired predictably helped boost tune-in for the Shonda Rhimes medical drama — but it didn’t set any ratings records. According to preliminary Nielsen data, the [spoiler alert!] death of Patrick Dempsey’s character lifted the 11-season-old Grey’s to 9.4 million viewers and a 2.8 rating among viewers under 50. Among younger viewers, that’s about 20 percent above the show’s same-day average this season, and its biggest audience since the show’s season premiere (and shift to 8 p.m.) last September. It also ranks as Grey’s most-watched episode during a “May” ratings sweeps — the four-week period from late April through May, which local TV stations use to set ad rates — since 2012. The big boost for Grey’s couldn’t halt the recent same-day ratings slide for Thursday-night stable-mate Scandal, however. At least in early ratings, Scandal ticked down versus last week’s numbers (7.8 million viewers, 2.3 rating). Perhaps the citizens of Shondaland were too shaken after the emotional shock of Grey’s to focus on the further misadventures of Olivia Pope and the Gladiators.

Grey’s Anatomy’s Surprise Garners Big Ratings