Ratings: Fox’s ‘Empire’ Cools; CBS’ ‘Code Black’ OK in Premiere

UPDATED WITH NATIONALS: One week after Fox megahit “Empire” returned to near-series high ratings levels, it remained Wednesday’s dominant program but cooled off some — as did skedmate “Rosewood.” CBS, meanwhile, introduced hospital drama “Code Black” to decent ratings opposite NBC’s season opener of “Chicago PD,” and ABC’s returning comedies “The Middle” and “The Goldbergs” continued to show gains even on a night that saw the net’s “Black-ish” take a tumble.

According to “live plus same-day” national estimates from Nielsen, “Empire” averaged a 5.5 rating/17 share in adults 18-49 and 13.74 million viewers overall. This is 18% lower than last week’s 6.7 rating in the demo and puts it in line with where the show was about two-thirds of the way through its 12-episode frosh run last winter. Despite the declines, “Empire” drew about as many young adults (7 million) as the night’s next top two shows combined, and was the night’s top program across all categories.

New Morris Chestnutt drama “Rosewood” (2.0/7 in 18-49, 6.24 million viewers overall) declined a reasonable 17% from its premiere to a still-fairly good number and is the network’s No. 1 new series of the fall. It once again showed signs of benefiting from pre-“Empire” tune-in, rising nearly 30% in its second half-hour (2.2 at 8:30 vs. a 1.7 at 8).

CBS’ “Survivor” (2.4/9 in 18-49, 9.43 million viewers overall) was down a bit from its week-ago premiere, leading into the season premiere of “Criminal Minds” (2.0/6 in 18-49, 10.07 million viewers overall). The crime drama, now in its 11th season and with new cast member Aisha Tyler, was down 0.7 (26%) from its year-ago premiere but on par with its average opposite “Empire” earlier this year (2.0).

It was followed by Marcia Gay Harden-fronted drama “Code Black” (1.5/5 in 18-49, 8.58 million viewers overall), which retained about 75% of the “Criminal Minds” young-adult audience and placed first in its timeslot in adults 25-54 (2.1/6, tied with “Chicago PD”) and total viewers. It was a tick behind timeslot leader “Chicago P.D.” in 18-49 (1.7/6 in 18-49, 6.7 million viewers overall), with the Peacock drama off 10% (0.2) from last year’s premiere (which had a stronger lead-in) but matching its top score without a crossover since that year-ago opener.

Earlier for NBC, “The Mysteries of Laura” (1.2/4 in 18-49, 7.35 million viewers overall) matched last week’s premiere score, and “Law & Order: SVU” (1.7/5 in 18-49, 6.73 million viewers overall) was down just a tenth from its premiere and matched its top score to date opposite “Empire.” Last week’s two-hour “SVU” premiere did a 1.6 opposite “Empire” and then surged at 10 o’clock.

At ABC, most of the comedy block held up well in their second week back, with “The Middle” (2.2/8 in 18-49, 7.91 million viewers overall) and “The Goldbergs” (2.4/8 in 18-49, 7.39 million viewers overall) both up a tenth. They’re the scripted series this season (new or returning) to grow in its second week, and each was up vs. the comparable night a year ago.

“Modern Family” (3.0/9 in 18-49, 8.72 million viewers overall), which was the night’s No. 2 program in 18-49 behind “Empire, was down 0.2 from last week. “Black-ish” (1.8/6 in 18-49, 6.0 million viewers overall) was down a sizable 25% (0.6) from last week’s premiere with an episode that dealt with the divisive issue of guns and gun ownership. Closing out the night, “Nashville” (1.1/4 in 18-49, 4.72 million viewers overall) was down a tenth from last week and 0.4 lower than the same week a year ago.

CW’s “Arrow” and “Supernatural” kick off their seasons next week. Last night, they aired the second night of the “iHeartRadio Music Festival” (0.3/1 in 18-49, 0.93 million viewers overall).

Comedy Central’s “South Park” (0.78) and MTV’s “Teen Mom” (0.77) were Thursday’s top cable originals in adults 18-49. Fox News Channel’s “The Kelly File” was cable’s most-watched program overall (3.00 million), and History’s “American Pickers” was tops among first-run entertainment programs (1.78 million).

LAST WEDNESDAY TOP SHOWS IN LIVE+3
(Adults 18-49 rating)
……………………………………………. L+3 ……. L+SD ……. Lift
1.  Empire (Fox) …………………………. 8.7 ……   6.7 …….. 2.0 (30%)
2.  Modern Family (ABC) ……………….. 4.9 ……   3.2 …….. 1.7 (53%)
3.  Black-ish (ABC) ……………………… 3.5 ……   2.4 …….  1.1 (46%)
4.  The Goldbergs (ABC) ……………….. 3.3 …….  2.4 …….  0.9 (38%)
5.  Survivor (CBS) ………………………. 3.1 …….  2.5 …….  0.6 (24%)

(Total Viewers in millions)
……………………………………………. L+3 ……. L+SD ……. Lift
1.  Empire (Fox) …………………………. 20.76 ……  16.18 …….. 4.58 (28%)
2.  Modern Family (ABC) ……………….. 13.08 ……   9.46 …….. 3.62 (53%)
3.  Survivor (CBS) ………………………. 11.45 ……   9.70 …….  1.75 (18%)
4.  Law & Order: SVU (NBC) ………….. 10.53 …….  8.27 …….  2.26 (27%)
5.  Black-ish (ABC) …………………….. 10.02 …….  7.30 …….  2.72 (37%)

Source: Nielsen

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