November 20, 2020 5:43pm

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How is this for symbolism — the Season 17 premiere of ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy, which featured the surprise return of Patrick Demsey as Derek Shepherd, added +3.09 million viewers after three days of playback. That is the show’s largest Live+Same Day to Live+3 increase among total viewers in more than 5½ years – since the April 23, 2015 episode, which featured McDreamy’s shocking death.

The stat is not surprising as both episodes featured unexpected — and iconic for the show — moments which fans who missed the live airing flocked to watch and those who saw the moments the night of their premiere watched to relive them.

With the big viewership boost, the Grey’s Anatomy premiere logged 9.1 million viewers in L+3 to pull ahead of last fall’s opener by +1%. In adults 18-39, Grey’s added +0.9 rating point to rise to a 2.3 in Live+3 and tie its highest-rated telecast since May 2, 2019, the conclusion of the first ever Station 19-Grey’s Anatomy crossover.

The Grey’s Anatomy premiere was the highest rated scripted telecast last week among adults 18-49 (L+3), edging NBC’s This Is Us. Season to date, it is tied in the category with the NBC family drama.