Ratings: ‘Empire’ Hits Six-Week High With Finale, But Well Down From Last Year

Fox’s “Empire” may not be quite as hot as in its scorching first season, but it had a strong finish to season two on Wednesday, hitting a six-week high and delivering the top demo score for any television series this month.

The NBA again provided tough competition on this night, with the second game of the Western Conference Finals between the Oklahoma City Thunder and Golden State Warriors averaging a big 5.9 overnight household rating on TNT. This was down from Monday’s 6.7 for a more competitive contest, but it was up 34% from the Game 2 in the West two years ago on TNT (4.4 for Oklahoma City-San Antonio) and 28% larger than last year’s Eastern Conference Finals on the network (4.6 for Cleveland-Atlanta).

Looking at Wednesday’s broadcast action, according to preliminary national estimates from Nielsen, “Empire” averaged a 4.0 rating/13 share in adults 18-49 and 10.8 million viewers overall, rising more than 10% week to week for its top scores since its second spring episode, on April 6. It was the No. 1 program of the night in all categories, including adults 18-49 where it beat runners-up “Survivor” and “Modern Family” (both 2.1) by 90%, and in adults 18-34 (3.6/15) where it more than doubled everything else.

The 4.0 rating in 18-49 is the highest for any entertainment program during the May sweep, besting HBO’s “Game of Thrones” (3.9) and CBS’ “The Big Bang Theory” (3.4). Still, “Empire” was down a steep 42% from its peak rating set with its season one finale in March of last year (a 6.9 in the demo, 17.62 million total viewers).

Leading into “Empire” last night, “Rosewood” (1.4/5 in 18-49, 4.7 million viewers overall) was up 21% (0.3) week to week. It has its finale next week, leading into the second-season premiere of “Wayward Pines.”

Elsewhere Wednesday, “Survivor” (2.1/7 in 18-49, 9.6 million viewers overall) was in line with last week’s hourlong average and down just a bit from last year’s closer (2.3 in 18-49, 9.74 million), which didn’t have to face “Empire.” The “Survivor” reunion post-show did a preliminary 1.5/5 in 18-49 and 6.8 million viewers at 10 p.m., down from a 1.8 in the demo last year. (Given that “Survivor” ran until about 10:15 p.m., the prelims for both programs are subject to revision in the finals.)

ABC didn’t see any upticks for its season finales of “The Middle” (1.6/6 in 18-49, 6.7 million viewers overall), “The Goldbergs” (1.8/7 in 18-49, 6.3 million viewers overall), “Modern Family” (2.1/7 in 18-49, 6.8 million viewers overall) and “Black-ish” (1.5/5 in 18-49, 5.1 million viewers overall) — all of which were at the low end of their season ranges. “Modern” was down 0.2 from its soft year-ago finale, which didn’t have to deal with “Empire” but came on a night when it had a low lead-in from gameshow “500 Questions.”

At NBC, “Heartbeat” (0.7/2 in 18-49, 3.8 million viewers overall) and “Chicago PD” (1.4/5 in 18-49, 6.9 million viewers overall) were steady week to week, but “Law & Order: SVU” (1.2/4 in 18-49, 5.6 million viewers overall) was impact by the “Empire” finale, dipping two tenths. The NBC programs conclude their seasons next week.

CW’s “Arrow” (0.8/3 in 18-49, 2.2 million viewers overall) and “Supernatural” (0.7/2 in 18-49, 1.9 million viewers overall) managed to match their week-ago scores one week from their finales. The tandem will be broken up next fall, as “Supernatural” moves to Thursday nights.

More TV

  • Steve Stark

    Steve Stark Named President of Newly Formed MGM/UA Television

    The newly formed MGM/UA Television label has found a president in Steve Stark, who previously served as MGM’s president of scripted television production and development. MGM Worldwide Television Group chairman Mark Burnett made the announcement late Friday, adding that Stark has extended his contract with the studio as part of his new role. “We are [...]

  • Bad Education

    TV News Roundup: HBO Sets Premiere Date for Hugh Jackman's 'Bad Education' (Watch)

    In today’s TV News roundup, HBO Films set the premiere date for “Bad Education” starring Hugh Jackman and Allison Janney and “Volcano Live! with Nik Wallenda” tapes Chris Harrison and Sage Steele as hosts. CASTING “The Bachelor” host Chris Harrison will host “Volcano Live! with Nik Wallenda” alongside co-host Sage Steele of ESPN, ABC announced. [...]

  • Randall Park Ed Helms

    Randall Park, Ed Helms to Host Hybrid Alternative-Scripted Series 'True Story' for NBC

    Ed Helms and Randall Park are attached to co-host a hybrid scripted-alternative series titled “True Story” at NBC. The hour-long show has received a six-episode order. It is based on the Australian series “True Story with Hamish & Andy.” In the series, everyday Americans sit down with Helms and Park to share their most extraordinary [...]

  • Annie MurphyGlamour Women of the Year

    'Schitt’s Creek' Star Annie Murphy Cast as Lead in AMC's ‘Kevin Can F— Himself’

    “Schitt’s Creek” star Annie Murphy has been cast as the lead in AMC’s upcoming series “Kevin Can F— Himself.” The dark comedy centers around Murphy’s Allison, Kevin’s wife, who escapes her confines and discovers her rage. “Kevin Can F– Himself” probes the secret life of a type of woman we all grew up believing we [...]

  • Vudu

    NBCUniversal in Talks to Buy Walmart's Vudu

    Comcast’s NBCUniversal is looking to add some Vudu into its streaming-video mix. The media conglomerate is in talks to buy Vudu, the Walmart-owned entertainment rental, download and free-streaming service, sources confirm to Variety. It’s unclear what the terms of the pact would be or the timing. News of NBCU’s interest in Vudu was first reported [...]

  • Friends reunion

    'Friends' Cast to Reunite for Exclusive HBO Max Special

    It’s happening: The “Friends” cast is reuniting for an exclusive untitled unscripted special on HBO Max. Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, Matthew Perry and David Schwimmer will return to the original “Friends” soundstage, Stage 24, on the Warner Bros. Studio lot in Burbank to celebrate the long-running series, which ended its run [...]

  • Regina King Watchmen

    HBO Reclassifies 'Watchmen' as a Limited Series, Including 'Possible Future Installments'

    In the ongoing saga of whether HBO’s “Watchmen” will continue after its initial, acclaimed season late last year, the pay cable network announced on Friday that it is reclassifying the show from a drama series to a limited series, including for “any possible future installments.” The move aligns HBO’s awards season campaign for “Watchmen” with [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content