UPDATE: In updated national estimates released Thursday afternoon by Nielsen, “Empire” was revised up a tick to 4.4 in adults 18-49 while moving above the 11 million-viewer mark (11.07 million). Its lead-in, “American Idol,” also went up (3.4/11 in 18-49, 11.76 million viewers overall).

“Empire’s” drama timeslot competitors “Criminal Minds” (2.0/6 in 18-49, 10.29 million viewers overall) and “Law & Order: SVU” (1.3/4 in 18-49, 6.77 million) each picked up a tenth too, though they remained at season lows.

At CW, “The 100” was revised downward (0.5/2 in 18-49, 1.48 million viewers overall).


Fox crushed the competition on Wednesday night behind a rising “American Idol” and the best scores yet for new drama “Empire,” which has defied the odds by growing from its big premiere with each of its next two episodes. The soap built on its “Idol” lead-in by 30% in adults 18-49 and by more than 40% among adults under 35.

According to preliminary national estimates from Nielsen, “Empire” averaged a 4.3 rating/13 share in adults 18-49 and 10.9 million viewers overall — rising in the demo by 8% from last week (4.0) and 13% from its premiere (3.8). Similarly, it has grown in total viewers from 9.9 million to 10.3 million and is now at nearly 11 million.

The 4.3 rating is the top score for any regularly scheduled Big Four drama telecast since the series premiere of ABC’s “Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD” in September 2013 (4.7). Fox’s “The Following” did a 4.4 with its second-season premiere on a Sunday in January of last year.

In the 9 o’clock hour, “Empire” more than doubled the demo delivery of CBS’ “Criminal Minds” (1.9/6 in 18-49, 10.2 million viewers overall) and more than tripled NBC’s “Law & Order: SVU” (1.2/4 in 18-49, 6.7 million viewers overall), with both veteran crime shows hitting season lows.

It probably helped “Empire” that ABC’s “Modern Family,” which had been Wednesday’s top show this season in young adults, aired a repeat last night (1.5/5 in 18-49, 5.3 million viewers overall), as did its lead-out “Black-ish” (1.1/3 in 18-49 million viewers overall).

Leading off the night for Fox was the rejuvenated “American Idol” (3.3/11 in 18-49, 11.5 million viewers overall), which was up 10% (0.3) from last week to hit a season high. It had lighter competition this week, as ABC comedies “The Middle” (1.3/4 in 18-49, 5.6 million viewers overall) and “The Goldbergs” (1.3/4 in 18-49, 4.6 million viewers overall) aired repeats, as did NBC’s “The Mysteries of Laura” (0.8/3 in 18-49, 4.8 million viewers overall).

CBS’ “The Mentalist” (1.5/5 in 18-49, 9.5 million viewers overall) also benefited from the repeats in its timeslot, rising to its highest score in three Wednesday airings this winter.

The night’s 10 p.m. drama battle was another demo draw between CBS’ “Stalker” (1.5/5 in 18-49, 8.0 million viewers overall) and NBC’s “Chicago PD” (1.5/5 in 18-49, 7.0 million viewers overall), with the latter building on its “SVU” lead-in by 25% (1.5 vs. 1.2).

At CW, “Arrow” (1.1/3 in 18-49, 3.0 million viewers overall) was steady and “The 100” (0.6/2 in 18-49, 1.6 million viewers overall) was up a tick from their most recent originals in December.