The End of ‘Scandal’: A Deep Dive Into Its Viewership and Advertising

Gladiators everywhere suited up last night, with red wine and popcorn at the ready, for the much-anticipated final season of Shonda Rhimes’ Scandal on ABC.

B&C partnered with Canvs, the emotion measurement company, to see what viewers had to say about the season opener on social media. Also below: brand and advertising data for Scandal courtesy of, and a look at what else the show’s viewers were watching this week, via

According to Canvs, there were 24,442 Emotional Reactions (ERs) prompted by the Scandal premiere. Love was the dominant feeling people expressed, appearing in 27.8% of all ERs, followed by excitement (16.2%), enjoyment (8.4%) and craziness (6.7%). As you’d expect, main character Olivia Pope (portrayed by Kerry Washington) was the biggest Scandal talking point, appearing in 17.5% of all ERs.

Related: Shonda Rhimes Inks Production Deal With Netflix

A total of 27 brands advertised during Scandal Thursday night, according to TV ad analytics firm, which has attention and conversion data from more than seven million smart TVs. Those companies ran 34 spots a total of 37 times, with an estimated spend of $4.7 million. Mobile electronic and retail companies lead the list of top-spending industries, but it was the pharmaceutical brand Humira that had the biggest estimated budget of the evening, followed by Apple Watch.

When it came to viewer attention, Rx also topped the list, with a commercial from Eucrisa (a topical dermatitis ointment) leading with 75% fewer interruptions compared to the average ad, according to the iSpot Attention Index (interruptions include changing the channel, pulling up the guide, fast-forwarding or turning off the TV). Commercials from Google Home and Twentieth Century Fox also had notably high attention indices.

According to Inscape, the TV data company with glass-level information from seven million smart TV screens and devices, people who watched Scandal were also tuning into ABC’s other powerhouse programming including Grey’s Anatomy before and How to Get Away With Murder after. Some of these viewers were also flipping between ABC and the Patriots vs. Buccaneers NFL game on CBS.

Scandal is part of a beloved Thursday night lineup of shows (warmly referred to as “TGIT” by fans), but how will it stand up to other promising programming like the newly revived Will & Grace on NBC, and the weekly Thursday Night Football games? This week both W&G and the NFL clocked more viewers overall, but it’s early in the TV season yet—and anything can happen in Shondaland.