‘Empire’ Premiere Grows to 22.5 Million Viewers With Time-Shifting and Early Streaming

The second-season premiere of Fox’s “Empire” packed on two full demo ratings points and moved above the 20-million mark in total viewers, according to Nielsen’s “live-plus 3” estimates, which include three days’ worth of DVR playback and VOD during the same window. And according to Fox, the 3-day audience total of “Empire” rises to 22.5 million once streaming viewership on Hulu and Fox.com are included.

In same-day numbers last week, “Empire” opened to near series-highs (6.7/21 in 18-49, 16.18 million viewers overall), coming in just shy of the 18-49 rating it did for its final episode last March (6.9). It rose to an 8.8 in the demo and 20.76 million total viewers in Live+3 — the second best scores in the shows 13 episodes to date.

The 8.7 rating, by far the highest for any entertainment series during premiere week, is a tick below the 8.8 achieved for the show’s first-season finale last March but above the night’s two-hour average (8.4). And the 20.76 million, which is a little over 1 million below last year’s 21.92 million for the finale, makes “Empire” the third most-watched show overall during the opening week of the TV season, behind CBS veterans “The Big Bang Theory” (22.49 million) and “NCIS” (21.47 million).

Fox’s series premiere of “Rosewood” didn’t see a huge bounce in Live+3, but did pack on about 15% to bring its 18-49 rating to 2.8. And in total viewers, it grew nearly 20% to 8.98 million. When streaming viewership is included, “Rosewood” grows to 9.2 million.

Elsewhere, ABC could claim the three top-rated programs in adults 18-49 not named “Empire.” Its “Modern Family” gained 1.7 points to hit a 4.9 (down from last year’s 5.5), while “Black-ish” picked up 1.1 points to a 3.5 — down 22% from last year’s big premiere, which didn’t have to face Fox’s “Empire.”

At NBC, “Mysteries of Laura” rose from a 1.22 to 1.58 in 18-49 and from 7.11 million total viewers to 8.64 million. And “Law & Order: SVU” grew more than 40% in the demo (1.8 to 2.6) and by nearly 30% in total viewers (to 10.53 million).

……………………………………………. 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%)

Source: Nielsen

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