TV Ratings: FOX's 'Empire' strikes big, 'American Idol' Wednesday premiere is soft
"American Idol" had its weakest premiere ever among young viewers and its softest overall launch since Season 1 on Wednesday night, but FOX is still giddy this morning after a huge premiere for "Empire," especially in the key demographic.
The Season 14 premiere of "Idol" drew 10.89 million viewers and did a 3.1 rating among adults 18-49 in Fast Nationals. For comparison purposes, last year's Wednesday "Idol" premiere averaged nearly 15.2 million viewers and a 4.7 rating among adults 18-49. Those numbers were, of course, for a two-hour premiere, as last year's "Idol" did only a 4.4 key demo rating and under 14.9 million in its first hour.
But, again, with a robust 3.7 key demo rating for "Empire," there's plenty to smile about at FOX. To be more specific, "Empire" is FOX's highest rated series debut since January 2012. That high-rated debut? "Touch."
[UPDATE: FOX got rushed Final Live+SD ratings and "Empire" ticked up to a 3.8 rating among adults 18-49, tying ABC's "How To Get Away With Murder" for the season's top debut.]
Wednesday also saw strong performances from ABC's early-night comedies, particularly "The Goldbergs," though a low night for "Black-ish" takes away some of that enthusiasm.
Let's get to the numbers...
Among adults 18-49, FOX averaged a 3.4 rating for Wednesday night, tops in the key demographic. ABC was a distant second with a 2.0 key demo rating, followed by CBS' 1.6 key demo rating and the 1.5 key demo rating for NBC. The CW averaged a 0.3 key demo rating for Wednesday.
Overall, FOX finished on top with 10.36 million viewers and a 6.1 rating/10 share for Wednesday night. CBS was second with 8.71 million viewers and a 5.4/9, topping NBC's 7.32 million viewers and 4.6/7. ABC was a close fourth with 6.29 million viewers and a 3.8/8. The CW averaged 1.03 million viewers and a 0.7/1 for the night.
8 p.m. - "American Idol" started primetime in first for FOX with the aforementioned 10.89 million viewers and 3.1 rating among adults 18-49. CBS' "The Mentalist" was second overall with 8.99 million viewers and tied for third with a 1.3 key demo rating. ABC was third overall and second in the key demo with "The Middle" (8.49 million viewers and a 2.3 key demo) and "The Goldbergs" (7.79 million and a 2.5 key demo rating). NBC's "The Mysteries of Laura" averaged 6.785 million viewers and a 1.3 key demo rating. On The CW, a repeat of "Arrow" averaged 975,000 viewers and a 0.2 key demo rating.
9 p.m. - "Empire" lost a few viewers from "Idol" with 9.83 million, but soared to a 3.7 rating among adults 18-49 in its premiere. The best part for FOX? "Empire" did a 3.7 key demo rating for both half-hours. CBS' People's Choice Awards coverage averaged 8.76 million viewers for second and a 1.8 key demo rating for the hour. NBC's "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" averaged 7.78 million viewers and a 1.7 key demo rating, compared to ABC's "Modern Family" (9.23 million viewers and a 3.2 key demo rating) and "Black-ish" (6.31 million viewers and a 2.1 key demo). The CW's "Penn & Teller: Fool Us" repeat averaged 1.09 million viewers and a 0.4 key demo rating.
10 p.m. - The People's Choice Awards won the 10 p.m. hour for CBS with 8.39 million viewers and a 1.9 rating among adults 18-49. NBC's "Chicago PD" was second with 7.43 million viewers and a 1.7 key demo rating. And ABC's "Galavant" encore averaged 2.96 million viewers and a 0.8 key demo rating.
All ratings information comes from preliminary Fast National Nielsen data, which includes live and same-day DVR viewing. All numbers are subject to change.