TV Ratings: ‘Empire’ Season Finale Pulls More Than 17 Million Viewers

Fox’s “Empire” earned top ratings for its season finale, pulling in 17.6 million viewers and beating out all other shows in the week ending March 22, according to Nielsen estimates.

The finale of “Empire” marked the show’s tenth straight week of growth since premiering in January. According to Nielsen, 50.3% of African-American homes watched the finale.

The escapades of the Lyon family easily outshone ratings for other shows, with ABC’s 20th edition of “Dancing with the Stars” providing “Empire’s” nearest competition with 14.1 million viewers in its season premiere. Last year’s “Dancing with the Stars” outing pulled in about 1 million more viewers than they achieved this March.

Coming in behind the dancing celebrities are the shuffling zombies of AMC’s “The Walking Dead,” topping cable shows and coming in fourth place overall with 13.8 million viewers. The series continues to climb the chart in its fifth season, up from fourth place the previous week.

CBS once again topped broadcast network viewerships, with its average of 7.2 million viewers outsripping ABC’s 6.3 million, NBC’s 6.1 million and Fox’s 5.3 million.

One of CBS’ signature programs, “60 Minutes” made the ratings top 10 for the fourth straight week, coming in seventh place with 11.6 million viewers. Places seven through 11 all belonged to CBS, in fact, with “Madam Secretary” (10.8 million), “NCIS” (10 million), “Survivor” (9.6 million) and “NCIS: New Orleans” (9.5 million) coming behind “60 Minutes.”

Audiences may be getting used to NBC’s “The Blacklist” on its new night, as last Thursday’s episode drew its largest audience in 4 weeks with 8.6 million viewers, beating out ABC’s “Scandal” head-to-head by nearly 1 million.

A pair of NBC comedies also fared pretty well, both benefitting from lead-ins from “The Voice. “Undateable,” now in its second season, drew 6.4 million viewers. “One Big Happy,” a new series executive produced by Ellen DeGeneres, pulled in 5.6 million viewers for its season premiere.

The hills were alive for Diane Sawyer’s 50th anniversary special on “The Sound of Music” on ABC, which drew 7.3 million viewers.

For the week of March 16-22, the top 10 shows, their networks and viewerships: “Empire,” Fox, 17.6 million; “Empire,” Fox, 15.8 million; “Dancing With the Stars,” ABC, 14.1 million; “The Walking Dead,” AMC, 13.8 million; “The Voice – Tuesday,” NBC, 12.8 million; “The Voice,” NBC, 12.6 million; “60 Minutes,” CBS, 11.6 million; “Madam Secretary,” CBS, 10.8 million; “NCIS,” CBS, 10 million; “Survivor,” CBS, 9.6 million.

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