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Ratings: ‘Empire’ Back on the Rise; Bernie Sanders, Michael J. Fox Boost ‘Jimmy Kimmel’

UPDATED WITH FINALS: Fox megahit “Empire” headed into its first break of the season on a ratings uptick Wednesday, dominating the evening and drawing as many young adults as the night’s next two top shows combined. Of note in latenight, meanwhile, was a strong showing for ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live” with Michael J. Fox and Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders.

TBS placed second to Fox for the night overall with its coverage of Game 4 of baseball’s National League Championship Series between the New York Mets and Chicago Cubs. The Mets’ series-clinching victory averaged a 2.4 rating in adults 18-49 and 7.935 million viewers overall from 8 to 11:51 p.m. ET, according to Nielsen nationals. This was the second highest-rated game of the series, behind the previous night’s Game 3 (2.7 in 18-49, 9.215 million viewers overall).

The Turner cabler network had its most-watched baseball postseason ever, averaging 6.3 million viewers — up 48% vs. last year. For the NLCS, TBS averaged 7.9 million viewers, a 56% increase vs. the network’s LCS coverage last year.

Looking at the night’s entertainment programs, “Empire” averaged a 4.8 rating/15 share in adults 18-49 and 12.28 million viewers overall from 9 to 10 p.m., up a tick from last week for the show’s first week-over-week gain of the season. It was also up 4% from its fifth episode of its rookie season. “Empire” was especially dominant in adults 18-34, where its 4.4 rating/17 share more than doubled the No. 2 program on Wednesday, ABC’s “Modern Family” (1.9/7).

“Empire” is scheduled to be off next week for Game 2 of the World Series, which will be broadcast by Fox Sports, and could be off on Nov. 4 too if a seventh game is needed. Showrunner Ilene Chaiken spoke with Variety about the cliffhanger and what lies ahead for “Empire.”

Leading off the night for Fox, “Rosewood” (1.6/5 in 18-49, 5.27 million viewers overall) was up 0.2 in 18-49 for its first week-over-week growth. The Morris Chestnut-fronted drama has already picked up for a full 22-episode first season.

Elsewhere, ABC ran second among the broadcasters in 18-49 behind its comedy block of “The Middle” (1.9/7 in 18-49, 7.08 million viewers overall), “The Goldbergs” (2.1/7 in 18-49, 6.48 million viewers overall), “Modern Family” (2.7/8 in 18-49, 7.80 million viewers overall) and “Black-ish” (1.8/5 in 18-49, 5.79 million viewers overall). “Middle” was up down a tenth and “Goldbergs” up a tick, while “Modern” — the No. 2 series of the night in demos — and “Black-ish” held at last week’s numbers. Closing out the night, “Nashville” (1.1/4 in 18-49, 4.47 million viewers overall) held at its low number, again finishing behind the dramas on NBC and CBS.

For the Eye, “Survivor” (2.1/7 in 18-49, 9.10 million viewers overall) and “Criminal Minds” (1.6/5 in 18-49, 8.47 million viewers overall) were down a tenth while “Code Black” held steady in its fourth week (1.2/4 in 18-49, 7.13 million viewers overall). The rookie hospital drama was the broadcast leader for its hour in adults 25-54 (1.8/5, tied with NBC) and again beat its competing network dramas in total viewers.

At NBC, “The Mysteries of Laura” was up a tenth (1.1/4 in 18-49, 6.81 million viewers overall) and “Law & Order: SVU” was down a tick (1.5/5 in 18-49, 6.32 million viewers overall) but continues to close in on “Criminal Minds.” At 10 p.m., “Chicago PD” (1.4/4 in 18-49, 6.2 million viewers overall) was down a tenth but again was the top broadcast series in its timeslot in 18-49 and 25-54 (tied with CBS).

CW’s “Arrow” (0.9/3 in 18-49, 2.40 million viewers overall) and “Supernatural” (0.6/2 in 18-49, 1.59 million viewers overall) were down from their solid scores of last week. Compared with the same week a year ago, the former was steady in 18-49 and the latter was up a bit over “The 100.”

FX’s “American Horror Story: Hotel” fell off some more in its third week (1.7 rating in 18-49, 3.20 million viewers overall) but remained cable’s No. 1 series for the night in 18-49 and most other categories.

In latenight, ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live” averaged a 0.9 rating/4 share in adults 18-49 in the 25 Local People Meter markets, marking its highest-rated telecast for a Wednesday in nearly two years (since Nov. 6, 2013). And its 2.5 household rating/7 share in the 56 metered markets was the show’s best on a Wednesday since last November.

Kimmel, who was broadcasting from Brooklyn, N.Y., for a third night this week, out-rated encores of NBC’s “Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” (0.8/4 in 18-49, 2.2/6 in households) and CBS’ “Late Show with Stephen Colbert” (0.4/2 in 18-49, 1.8/5 in households). In addition to Fox (who was celebrating “Back to the Future Day”) and Sanders, Kimmel also welcomed hip-hop trio Big Grams.


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