‘Empire’ Returns Big, Draws Second-Best Rating to Date; ‘Rosewood’ Starring Morris Chestnut Solid

empire premiere season 2 ratings
“Empire” Season 2 (Photo via CHUCK HODES/FOX)

UPDATE: In rush nationals ordered by Fox, “Empire” was revised up to a 6.7 in adults 18-49 and 16.2 million total viewers for its second-season premiere. In the demo, that puts it ahead of its two-hour finale average from March (6.5) and only a bit behind that night’s second hour (6.9).

Fox juggernaut “Empire” showed no signs of slowing down in its sophomore season, returning Wednesday to its second best ratings to date. The network dominated the opening Wednesday of the season overall, with its “Rosewood,” the only series premiere on the night, benefiting from pre-“Empire” tune-in to deliver solid scores.

ABC’s comedy block returned strong, with “The Middle” and “The Goldbergs” on par with last year and “Modern Family” and “Black-ish” a hearty second to “Empire” in the 9 o’clock hour. CBS’ “Survivor” was down a bit but remains potent kicking off its 31st edition.

According to preliminary national estimates from Nielsen, “Empire” averaged a huge 6.5 rating/20 share in adults 18-49 and 16.0 million viewers overall — beating the ratings for all but the show’s final episode from last season. Its 9 p.m. episode on finale night in March averaged a 6.9/21 in 18-49 and 17.62 million total viewers (and its two-hour finale night average of 6.5 matched last night’s premiere).

The show had seen its overall audience grow with every episode during its first season, but that amazing streak came to an end on Wednesday.

Compared with last season’s premiere in January, “Empire” on Wednesday was up by 71% in 18-49 (6.5 vs. 3.8) and by 62% in total viewers (16.0 million vs. 9.9 million). This is the biggest improvement from season 1 premiere to season 2 premiere for any scripted series since Fox’s “House” in 2004 and 2005.

And in total viewers, “Empire” also towered over the Wednesday pack. Its 16.0 million was more than 6 million viewers higher than runner-up “Survivor” on CBS (9.6 million).

“Empire” was also a social-media superstar last night, with 1.3 million tweets sent during the episode — making it the most-tweeted one-hour broadcast drama series on record (since Nielsen began tracking about four years ago). Perhaps most impressively, and a true indication of the show’s wide appeal and reach, the tweets generated 63 million impressions.

The most-tweeted minute occurred at 9:30 p.m. with 32,363 tweets after Anika (“Boo Boo Kitty”) was dancing.

Leading off Wednesday for Fox was medical drama “Rosewood” (2.4/9 in 18-49, 7.3 million viewers overall) starring Morris Chestnut. Though it hadn’t generated much buzz leading into the season, it clearly found an opening-night audience. The 2.4 rating in 18-49 makes it the young season’s No. 4-rated series premiere, behind “Blindspot,” “The Muppets” and “Life in Pieces.” It saw a big jump in the second half-hour (2.7 vs. 2.1 at 8 p.m.), a clear sign of pre-“Empire” tune-in.

Elsewhere, ABC had to be pleased with its returning comedy block: “The Middle” (2.1/8 in 18-49, 8.2 million viewers overall), “The Goldbergs” (2.4/8 in 18-49, 7.6 million viewers overall), “Modern Family” (3.1/10 in 18-49, 9.3 million viewers overall) and “Black-ish” (2.4/7 in 18-49, 7.3 million viewers overall). “Middle” and “Goldbergs” were identical to their demo premieres of last year and topped their final nine episodes of last season.

“Modern” and “Black-ish” were down as expected, lower by 18% and 27% respectively from last year’s opening Wednesday when the competition on Fox was considerably softer (“Red Band Society” did a 1.1 in 18-49). The 2.4 for “Black-ish” matches the show’s highest rating to date opposite an episode of “Empire.”

Closing out the night, “Nashville” (1.3/4 in 18-49, 5.0 million viewers overall) was within a tenth of its year-ago premiere.

CW aired “America’s Next Top Model” (0.4/2 in 18-49, 1.4 million viewers overall) and the finale of “A Wicked Offer” (0.2/1 in 18-49, 0.5 million viewers overall). “Arrow” and “Supernatural” kick off their seasons on Oct. 7.

article by Rick Kissell via Variety.com

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