After a year of blockbuster moves, the sagas of the Lyon family came to their 2015 conclusion last night with the first Empire winter finale (4.4/13). There were, of course, twists and turns by the multitude — as one would expect from the drama created by Lee Daniels and Danny Strong — plus one pushed mystery.
The 11.54 million total viewership for the Season 2 midseason finale “Et Tu, Brute?” was the best Empire has done since the 11.68 million who watched the November 4 episode, and the 9 PM Fox series was even among adults 18-49 with its November 18 show. Up 38% in the demo from the series low of last week’s Thanksgiving Eve airing, a ratings rupture with millions of Americans and potential viewers were on the move, last night’s one-hour episode could see an adjustment in the final numbers, as Empire often has. In metered-market ratings, to add more math to the numbers, last night’s Empire got a 7.9 result – also matching what it got two weeks ago. Lead-in Rosewood (1.4/5) was up 17% from its November 25 show and slipped 7% from its November 18 telecast. Overall, Fox won the night in the demo with a 2.9/9 rating, and CBS took the viewership top spot with an audience of 8.86 million.
The midseason finale of Empire wasn’t the only event of sorts on TV last night. Part 2 of the second two-night crossover of The Flash and Arrow (1.3/4) brought this year’s DC Universe team-up to an end on Wednesday. And it was a nice end for the WBTV series, with Arrow hitting not only a Season 4 high but, with 3.58 million tuning in, the best viewership and demo result the show has had since the previous crossover on December 3, 2014. Compared with that previous crossover, last night’s Arrow dipped 7% in the demo but was up 18% from its previous original of November 18. Lead-in Supernatural (0.9/3) was up 33% in the key demo from its last new show of two weeks ago to hit a season high of its own.
With the exception of the Christmas In Rockefeller Center (1.5/5) special, NBC was all holiday encores last night with Dr. Seuss’ How The Grinch Stole Christmas (1.5/4) and a Saturday Night Live Christmas (1.4/5). Both repeats were down double digits in the 18-49 demo from their initial runs last year. With Mary J Blige and Sting among those on hand and lacking the Mariah Carey drama of last year, the network’s NYC tree-lighting hootenanny also was down again, this time 21% from its December 3, 2014, show.
Unlike NBC, both ABC and CBS had a full schedule of originals last night. Survivor (2.1/7), the net’s top-rated show of Wednesday night in 18-49 was even with its November 25 airing and up 16% from its two-hour Thanksgiving Eve broadcast. Criminal Minds (1.5/4) was even with its last original of two weeks ago, which was a series low. Which left it up to the newbie to deliver for CBS, and that’s what Code Black (1.5/5) did. Up 25% from its November 18 episode and 15% among adults 18-49 from its November 25 show, the freshman matched the demo result of its September 30 debut, its top result so far. With an audience of 8.5 million, Code Black was just a touch behind the 8.58 million who watched its premiere.
The Middle (2.1/7) was even with its last original of November 18, while The Goldbergs (2.0/6) dipped 9% in the key demo. Facing that Empire winter finale, the rest of ABC’s night was not so good. Modern Family (2.4/7) had a 14% decline, Black-ish (1.7/5) was down 11%, and Nashville (0.9/3) slumped 10% from their airings of two weeks back. Those are season lows for the trio in fast nationals.