By the way, as of today, the petition that was created in response to the extended break, still needs 456 signatures to reach its goal.
But it looks like the 3-week hiatus didn’t do much to turn away fans from last night’s returning all-new episode of Scandal, based on the below press release from ABC, breaking down the numbers.
Not only did the episode (the first since 4/4/13) win its time slot for the 13th time in a row (of original episodes), decisively beating CBS’ Elementary and NBC’s Hannibal (remember the days when it used to be the number 2 show during that hour, behind Elementary? It’s been a while), it also matched a series ratings high, and is up sharply from the same night’s episode a year ago, during season 1.
Be sure to read Natasha’s wrap-up of last night’s episode HERE.
The rest of the ratings story via press release from ABC:

ABC’s Red Hot “Scandal” Returns Up to Equal a Series High

ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal returned for their first original telecasts in 3 weeks with dominant Adult 18-49 victories in the 9pm and 10pm hours, to stand as the Top 2 dramas of the night. Among Adults 18-49, ABC has now delivered the top-rated 10 o’clock dramas on Monday (Castle), Tuesday (Body of Proof) and Thursday (Scandal) this week, with Scandal on track to finish as the week’s #1 regularly scheduled 10pm drama in for its 10th straight original broadcast (on each week since its January return). Scandal outdelivered American Idol on the night in Adults 18-49 and returned up to match a series high. Scandal was once again Thursday’s #1 most social series during primetime, leading #2 American Idol by 79% (175k vs. 98k).

More than doubling its Adult 18-49 lead-in (+145%) at 9pm, ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy shot up to win the hour for its 4th straight original, beating CBS’ Person of Interest by 13%, Fox’s Idol-led Glee 50% and NBC’s comedies by 80% (The Office/Parks and Recreation). Grey’s returned within 1-tenth of a rating point of its last original telecast on 4/4/13.

Building on its Grey’s lead-in and up 8% over its last original airing, ABC’s Scandal took full control of its 10 o’clock drama competition in Adults 18-49, beating CBS’ Elementary by a best-ever 40% and nearly tripled NBC’s Hannibal (+180%) In fact in Adults 18-49, Scandal has now finished as the #1 series in its time slot on each of its last 13 original telecasts. 

Continuing to trend well ahead of its freshman season, Scandal was up sharply from its same night year-ago performance in viewers (+13%) and young adults (+40%). On its first original telecast since 4/4/13, Scandal equaled series highs Adults 18-49 and Adults 18-34.