The near-end of American Idol (2.2/8) brought a near season low for Empire (4.2/14) last night on Fox. With a strong first night of the long-running competition show’s two-night series finale as a lead-in, the Lee Daniels- and Danny Strong-created drama saw a 12% drop in adults 18-49 compared with its winter break return last week.
With the exception of the 3.2/10 that last year’s Thanksgiving eve episode of November 25 pulled in, the lowest Empire has done in the demo was the 4.2/13 of its November 11 show last year. That “True Love Never” episode pulled in 11.20 million viewers, or 1.1% less than the 11.329 million who watched “A Rose By Any Other Name.” The January 7, 2015 series debut and the January 14, 2015 episode of Empire both did worse in the key demo than last night’s episode, with 3.8/11 and 4.0/12 results, respectively.
In its last performance show ever, the second-to-last episode of Idol saw some not unexpected rises even as Empire took a bit of tumble. The Ryan Seacrest-hosted show was up 5% in the demo over both its last regular show of March 21, a Thursday, and its last Wednesday show of February 24. Rising 57% over Tuesday’s 90-minute retrospective special, last night’s Idol was up by the same percentage over Rosewood’s performance in the slot last week.
Idol might really be going out with a bit of a bang: Compared to the first night of Season 14’s two-night finale, last night’s Part 1 was up 69% over that May 12, 2015 show, which fell on a Tuesday at 9 PM.
Overall, Fox won Wednesday again with a 3.2 rating and 10.45 million viewers. In the demo, that’s a 7% rise over last week’s win and in total audience it is a 20% jump.
Up against Idol in the 8 PM slot, ABC saw comedies The Middle (1.7/6) and The Goldbergs (1.8/6) were even and down 10% respectively from their last originals of March 23. Facing Empire for the first time this year and back with originals for the first time in two weeks, both Modern Family (2.2/7) and black-ish (1.6/5) declined 8% and 15%. In early numbers, last night’s result in a series low for Modern Family. The one up of the night for the Disney-owned net was 10 PM’s Nashville (1.0/4), which rose a tenth from its March 30 show.
With a big death revealed, Arrow (0.8/3) was down a tenth on the CW while Supernatural (0.7/3) rose a tenth. NBC’s only original of the night was struggling newbie Heartbeat (0.7/3), which took a 22% fall from its March 30 show.
CBS’ Survivor (1.9/7) was also down a tenth like many other shows on the Idol/Empire double dose night. A special Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders (1.2/4) slumped 33% from what mothershow Criminal Minds had in the 9 PM slot last week. In its regular 10 PM slot, Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders (1.2/4) was down a tenth from its March 30 show to what is a low for the new show in early numbers.