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Ratings: Fox’s ‘Empire’ Hits Season Low, Still Dominates Wednesday

Fox drama “Empire” has dominated another Wednesday in the ratings race, but it fell to its season low as it nears the end of its fall run. A special one-time lead-in from “The Voice,” meanwhile, helped lift NBC’s “Law & Order: SVU” to a season high.

According to preliminary national estimates from Nielsen, “Empire” averaged a 4.2 rating/13 share in adults 18-49 and 11.1 million viewers overall, down 9% (0.4) from last week in the demo to its lowest rating since the second episode of its rookie season. It still ruled its timeslot, drawing about as many young adults as the combined tallies of the timeslot’s No. 2 (ABC) and No. 3 (NBC) rated networks. Leadoff hitter “Rosewood” (1.4/5 in 18-49, 5.2 million viewers overall) was down just a tenth and matched its low.

At NBC, a special live playoffs episode of “The Voice” won the 8 o’clock hour with a 2.4 rating/8 share in adults 18-49 and 10.2 million viewers overall — more than doubling the network’s demo average this fall with “The Mysteries of Laura” (1.1). That helped “Law & Order: SVU” (2.0/6 in 18-49, 7.9 million viewers overall) spike 33% (0.5) week to week for the show’s highest rating for a non-crossover episode since September 2014. Closing the night, “Chicago PD” (1.6/5 in 18-49, 6.8 million viewers overall) was up 14% (0.2) to a six-week high; it won its timeslot in the demo among the major networks, as it has with each of its last 23 originals.

ABC’s comedy lineup returned from a week off with solid numbers, as “The Middle” (2.0/7 in 18-49, 7.6 million viewers overall), “The Goldbergs” (2.1/7 in 18-49, 7.0 million viewers overall), “Modern Family” (2.7/8 in 18-49, 8.1 million viewers overall) and “Black-ish” (1.9/6 in 18-49, 6.0 million viewers overall) were all on par with their prior results; “Modern” ranked second (behind only “Empire”) for the night in 18-49. “Nashville” (1.0/3 in 18-49, 4.6 million viewers overall) continues to be a drag on the network’s nightly average, placing a distant third among the major networks at 10.

At CBS, “Survivor” (2.1/7 in 187-49, 8.9 million viewers overall), “Criminal Minds” (1.6/5 in 18-49, 8.4 million viewers overall) and “Code Black” (1.3/4 in 18-49, 6.9 million viewers overall) all edged up a tenth from last week when they went up against the CMA Awards on ABC. If it holds at a 1.3, this would be the highest rating for “Code Black” since its Sept. 30 premiere (1.5).

At CW, “Arrow” (0.9/3 in 18-49, 2.3 million viewers overall) was down from its hot numbers of last week, and “Supernatural” was average (0.7/2 in 18-49, 1.7 million viewers overall).

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