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How ABC's 'Scandal' Gets 2,200 Tweets Per Minute

How ABC's 'Scandal' Gets 2,200 Tweets Per MinuteHow ABC's 'Scandal' Gets 2,200 Tweets Per Minute

This story first appeared in the Feb. 15 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.

ABC's Scandal is experiencing a sophomore growth spurt -- and Twitter might be the reason.

Shonda Rhimes' drama, starring Kerry Washington as a D.C. political fixer, has taken over the social media platform every Thursday this season, with the Jan. 31 episode generating more than 2,200 tweets a minute and five worldwide trending topics. The entire cast has contributed to the effort, live-tweeting during episodes using the #AskScandal hashtag and generating such story-driven tags as #WhoShotFitz and #WhatTheHuck.

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"Everybody is super-involved and willing to do whatever it takes to make this show work," Rhimes tells THR. "People heard about the show from other people -- Oprah Winfrey heard about it from Twitter -- and that got other people watching. That really helped us."

The strategy is working: Original episodes of Scandal are averaging a 3.1 rating this season, up 19 percent in the key adults 18-to-49 demographic, en route to overtaking CBS' Elementary at 10 p.m. Thursdays. And the trajectory is upward: The Jan. 31 episode delivered its best retention of lead-in Grey's Anatomy to date, holding 96 percent in the 18-to-49 metric as it threatens to surpass Rhimes' longtime ratings champ.

ABC, meanwhile, has fully embraced the Twitter strategy, promoting the #AskScandal phenomenon into its on-air promos (below) for the drama.