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Scandal - Pre-Finale Ratings Rundown + POLL

(Check out my TV ratings website, www.seriesmonitor.com)

The countdown clock is ticking for the #Gladiators, in anticipation of what, by all indications, is set to be a jawdropping season 3 finale, tomorrow night, at 10|9c, on ABC.

I'm one of those fans, trying to remain sane until then, so to keep my mind off the possibility of watching the casualties pile up I'd thought I'd crunch some ratings data for what has been a phenomenal season 3.

Bearing in mind we have Live + Same Day ratings data for 17 out of 18 of the season's episodes at this point, Scandal is averaging a pretty astonishing 3.03 adults 18-49 rating across the season. This makes Scandal ABC's highest rated drama, and second highest rated scripted series on ABC, behind sitcom Modern Family, which has been averaging a 3.62 adults 18-49 rating.

It gets better for the #Gladiators too. Scandal sits fourth on the list of highest rating scripted series on any broadcast network this season. The three series in front of it are led by CBS's The Big Bang Theory, the aforementioned Modern Family, and another CBS series by the name of How I Met Your Mother. You may have noticed that those three series are all comedies, making Scandal broadcast television's highest rating drama in the 2013-2014 season. The only show that comes remotely close in the 10|9c timeslot is NBC's The Blacklist, which sits at 2.93 average rating after 18 episodes.

In total viewers, Scandal also pulls its weight. An average of 9.03 million viewers have tuned into the 17 episodes thus far, putting the show in fourth place among ABC series. At this point, Modern Family leads this list with an average of 10 09 million viewers tuning into each episode. Castle sits in second place with 10.00 million viewers, followed by freshman series Resurrection, which, after 6 episodes, sits at 9.76 million viewers per episode. With the way things have been looking for Resurrection as it settles, expect Scandal to grab third place in the coming weeks.

Let's crunch the numbers further and incorporate some Nielsen data. Nielsen believes there are 126.96 million adults 18-49 in the US. Therefore a single ratings point means that 1.2696 million adults aged 18-49 watched an episode. Of Scandal's 9.03 million average viewers, this means a handy 3.847 million of them are aged 18-49.

Things get very interesting when you take into account the Live+7 DVR ratings. Scandal is definitely one of the best performers, sitting in third place among the many shows I track on my website, www.seriesmonitor.com. In the 15 episodes for which there is data available, Scandal's rating increases an average of 51.5% after 7 days, rising to a 4.9 adults 18-49 rating, while the total audience does much the same, building to 12.934 million viewers - a 43.23% average increase. Expect both figures to climb further as the DVR viewing ramps up for the final 3 episodes of the season.

In its 3 seasons and 46 episodes on the air, Scandal has never had a lead-in other than Grey's Anatomy. In the 7 episodes of season 1, Scandal averaged a 2.01 rating and 7.02 million viewers, while the 7 episodes Grey's Anatomy aired in that time averaged a 3.31 rating and 9.94 million viewers. In season 2, the gap closed substantially after the dramatic ratings increase Scandal saw after the first quarter of the season. Over the 22 episodes in season 2, Scandal averaged a 2.50 rating and 7.52 million viewers, while Grey's Anatomy, in the 22 episodes it led in Scandal, averaged a 3.12 rating and 9.12 million viewers.

Fast forward to season 3, and it's a one way street in Scandal's favor, with the aforementioned 3.03 rating and 9.03 million viewers. Grey's Anatomy, again in the 17 episodes to date it's led in Scandal, has averaged a mere 2.66 rating and 8.47 million viewers. It's almost as if both Shondaland shows swapped ratings for the season!

Anyway, enough of the number crunching, time for the poll! The question is pretty darn simple: predict the ratings and audience for the season 3 finale. As a point of comparison, Scandal's season 2 penultimate episode and finale garnered a 3.2 rating, and the finale earned 9.12 million viewers. If last week's episode is any indication, a 3.0 rating and 9.23 million viewers is the benchmark to beat. Scandal has only hit the 10 million viewer mark once, and that was back in the season 3 premiere, where a massive 3.6 rating and 10.52 million viewers were recorded.

For the record, I'm picking a 3.4 rating and 9.85 million viewers, but now it's your turn! When you've voted share your guesstimates and theories in the comments below. Remember you can view ALL Scandal ratings data on my website, www.seriesmonitor.com/scandal. View the season finale promo here.

Thanks for reading and commenting! Enjoy the finale!

About the Author - Jimmy Ryan
Jimmy Ryan lives in New Zealand. He is an avid follower of drama television and has a keen interest for television ratings and statistics. Some of his favorite shows right now are Person of Interest, Scandal, House of Cards, Orphan Black, The Blacklist, The 100, and Castle. You can visit his television ratings website, www.seriesmonitor.com or follow him on Twitter, @SeriesMonitor.