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It's reasonably well known that Grey's Anatomy isn't achieving the audiences it used to see in its early days, where it was common to see audiences pushing well past 15 million viewers consistently. But season 9 of Grey's Anatomy has done pretty well considering there's been several factors working against it this season
The beginning of the season saw Grey's Anatomy being led in by freshman drama Last Resort. Last Resort was canceled mid season by ABC due to poor ratings in a very competitive 8pm Thursdays timeslot. The replacement show ABC decided to schedule, Zero Hour, fared worse than Last Resort, with the show being pulled from the schedule after just three weeks due to poor ratings. That's left Wife Swap for the bulk of the remaining weeks, and some Shark Tank and Wipeout thrown in to make up a total of 5 shows that have had lead-in responsibilities this season
The 8pm Thursdays timeslot hasn't bee strong for a number of years thanks to stiff competition from other networks with shows like The Big Bang Theory earning massive ratings and audience numbers. In fact, the data I have for seasons 5 to 9 of Grey's Anatomy tells the same story. In those 5 seasons (including this one) the year with the highest average lead-in rating for Grey's Anatomy is season 5, with a 2.35 18-49 rating being the average rating earned by Grey's Anatomy's lead-in. Contrast that with Grey's Anatomy itself, which, in season 5, was averaging a 5.67 rating per episode
You can see the full statistics for season 5 of Grey's Anatomy on this page, and season 9 on this page
Moving forward to the present day. This season of Grey's Anatomy has seen a 3.10 ratings average and an average audience of 9.08 million viewers. The lead-ins I discussed earlier have earned a combined ratings average of 1.32, and a combined audience average of 5.42 million viewers. Before you ask, yes, this is the lowest average rated and viewed season that Grey's Anatomy has had.
Live+7 ratings data for Grey's Anatomy is also interesting reading. From the 3.10 average Live+SD rating, Grey's Anatomy's average Live+7 rating jumps to 4.74, while the audience jumps to 12.573 million viewers. That's an average 52.9% ratings gain from Live+SD to Live+7, and average 38.5% audience gain - a lot better than most shows. What's more, the Live+7 ratings gain this season is more than was seen last season, despite the ratings and audience averages being less than last season. Season 8 saw a 44% average ratings gain, and 31.4% average audience gain. Remember there's still 3 episodes which don't have Live+7 data yet, so these numbers will change, hopefully for the better. The season 8 Live+7 data is available on this page
Season 8's Grey's Anatomy finale saw a 0.6 Live+SD ratings increase on the penultimate episode. That spike can clearly be seen on this page's season comparison graphs. While I believe such a ratings jump in tonight's finale is highly unlikely, history tells us that Grey's Anatomy does experience a nice wee jump at from each season finale, meaning you'll have to take that into consideration when picking your estimate in the poll below. Another factor which will also help improve ratings slightly for tonight's finale is the lack of the usual competition in the form of Glee on FOX, and Person of Interest on CBS, with both shows having already aired their season finales a week and fortnight ago respectively.
So, what do you think the ratings for tonight's finale of Grey's Anatomy will be?? Take your pick in the poll below, and share your thoughts in the comments!
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