Ratings: Fox’s ‘Empire’ Dips, Still Dominates Wednesday; CW’s ‘Arrow’ Returns Up

UPDATED WITH FINALS: Fox won the third Wednesday of the television season behind juggernaut “Empire” and newcomer “Rosewood,” with both down from last week on a night that saw most shows — including new CBS hospital drama “Code Black” in its second week — take a fall. On the bright side, the CW’s “Arrow” opened its fourth season up from last year.

There were some notable programs on the cable front Wednesday that likely stole away some viewers from the broadcast networks. TBS’ coverage of the Major League Baseball wild-card playoff game between the Chicago Cubs and Pittsburgh Pirates averaged a 2.6 rating in adults 18-49 and 8.3 million viewers overall, according to Nielsen national estimates. Combined with the previous night’s averages (2.3 in the demo, 7.6 million overall for Astros-Yankees), this year’s postseason is off to a hot start, up about 70% from last year.

And at FX, the premiere of “American Horror Story: Hotel” averaged a 3.0 demo rating and 5.81 million viewers overall, a bit below the previous high set with the “Freak Show” debut a year ago. When delayed viewing numbers are available, “Hotel” could still emerge as the network’s most popular scripted telecast ever.

Looking at the national ratings for Wednesday’s broadcast action, “Empire” averaged a 5.1 rating/16 share in adults 18-49 and 13.10 million viewers overall in the 9 o’clock hour, down 7% (0.4) from last week’s second episode of the season. It drew more young adults than the night’s next two highest-rated shows on the Big Four (ABC’s “Modern Family” and “The Goldbergs”) combined. During its first season last winter, “Empire’s” third episode did a 4.4/13 in 18-49 and 11.07 million total viewers.

Leading off the night for Fox, “Rosewood” (1.8/6 in 18-49, 5.75 million viewers overall) was down 10% (0.2) from last week and placed third in 18-49 for the 8 o’clock hour among the Big Four.

Over at CW, the fourth-season premiere of “Arrow” averaged a 1.1 rating/4 share in adults 18-49 and 2.67 million viewers overall in the 8 o’clock hour. It was up a tenth from its year-ago premiere in 18-49, and only three episodes last season did a higher rating; the only premiere of the show to rate higher was its pilot episode in 2012. “Arrow” was even with last year in adults 18-34 and down a bit in total viewers.

“Supernatural” followed at 9 p.m. (0.9/3 in 18-49, 1.94 million viewers overall), down from its year-ago opener on Tuesday when it aired behind “The Flash,” but outperforming all nine episodes that aired Wednesday at 9 a year ago. Combined, “Arrow” and “Supernatural” gave CW its best Wednesday since last December in adults 18-49, men 18-34 and men 18-49.

At CBS, “Survivor” (2.0/7 in 18-49, 9.07 million viewers overall), “Criminal Minds” (1.7/5 in 18-49, 9.08 million viewers overall) and “Code Black” (1.2/4 in 18-49, 6.83 million viewers overall) were all down multiple tenths from last week. “Survivor” led its hour in 18-49 (tied), 25-54 and total viewers, while “Code Black” fell 0.3 from last week but still stood as the top broadcast series in its timeslot in total viewers.

Like the CBS shows, ABC’s “The Middle” (2.0/7 in 18-49, 7.30 million viewers overall), “The Goldbergs” (2.1/7 in 18-49, 6.60 million viewers overall) and “Modern Family” (2.7/8 in 18-49, 7.99 million viewers overall) all shed multiple tenths week to week, though “Black-ish” stabilized (1.9/6 in 18-49, 5.86 million viewers overall) after its low performance of last week. “Nashville” (1.0/3 in 18-49, 4.36 million viewers overall) continues to drag down the night’s average, coming in down a tenth from last week.

At NBC, “The Mysteries of Laura” (1.1/4 in 18-49, 7.20 million viewers overall) and “Law & Order: SVU” (1.6/5 in 18-49, 7.00 million viewers overall) limited their declines to one-tenth, and “Chicago PD” (1.5/5 in 18-49, 6.48 million viewers overall) was down 0.2. “Chicago PD” was the clear broadcast leader at 10 p.m. in 18-49 and 25-54 (1.9/5).

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