Collectively declaring their right to enjoy the professional and personal exploits of tough-as-nails lady lawyers whenever they damn well please, more than 6 million Americans banded together to view the premiere of How To Get Away With Murder, whenever they could get around to watching it on their DVRs. The ABC drama starring Viola Davis as a defense attorney who specializes in getting the job done—no matter what—debuted this past Thursday to an audience of 14 million people. It was a strong showing, but within three days, viewership had swelled to 20.3 million. That represents the biggest live-plus-3 ratings jump in history, handily trumping other time-shifting champions like The Blacklist and Gotham, and giving ammunition to anyone interested in arguing that Viola Davis could best James Spader or Batman in a fight.
Impressive as How To Get Away With Murder’s record-busting is, it’s part of an ongoing process. Each fall has produced new time-shifting records, so the importance of watching television live is likely to keep shrinking until all shows are released in their entirety every January 1, with the viewing public able to watch them at their leisure throughout the year.