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Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Thurs., Jan. 29) -- return of TGIT gives ABC a leg up on opening night of Feb. "sweeps"

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ABC broke fast out of the starting gate with the return of its “Thank God It’s Thursday” lineup on night one of the February “sweeps.”

The network’s three-pronged attack of Shonda Rhimes-produced dramas was paced by a new 8 p.m. episode of Scandal. It easily won its time slot in both total viewers (299,882) and advertiser-prized 18-to-49-year-olds (145,075).

ABC’s How to Get Away with Murder held serve at 9 p.m. with 258,038 total viewers and 138,767 in the 18-to-49 demographic.

In the 7 p.m. hour, CBS’ The Big Bang Theory reigned with a prime-time leading 425,414 total viewers and 157,690 in the 18-to-49 realm. The second half of Fox’s American Idol then won from 7:30 to 8 p.m. with respective totals of 313,830 and 122,998 viewers.

Fox’s 8 p.m. second episode of Backstrom took a tumble from Week 1, but still beat the second hour of NBC’s The Biggest Loser and CBS’ fading The McCarthys in total viewers. But Biggest Loser moved ahead of Backstrom among 18-to-49-year-olds.

NBC’s 9 p.m. series finale of Parenthood ran third in total viewers with 153,428, edging CBS’ competing Elementary (146,454). The Bravermans’ swan song likewise took the bronze with 18-to-49-year-olds. Fox4’s 9 p.m. local newscast registered solid second place finishes in both ratings measurements, in each case bouncing up from Backstrom.

Thursday also marked the start of the four-way local news wars among Fox4, NBC5, Gannett8 and CBS11. Here’s how it went.

Gannett8 started strong at 10 p.m., winning by comfortable margins in both total viewers and with 25-to-54-year-olds (main advertiser target audience for news programming). CBS11 had a sub-dismal showing in the 25-to-54 demographic, drawing just 14,817 viewers compared to Gannett8’s 133,353.

Fox4 swept the 6 a.m. competitions, with Gannett8 taking the silver in both measurements. But the 25-to-54 numbers for Gannett8, NBC5 and CBS11 were closely bunched. Fox4 led the way with 59,268 viewers, followed by Gannett8 (38,524), NBC5 (32,597) and CBS11 (29,634).

Gannett8 had the most total viewers at both 5 and 6 p.m. while NBC5 took the top spots at those hours among 25-to-54-year-olds.

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