First off, let’s take a moment to recognize this first Thursday morning in months where we weren’t talking about those amazing Empire ratings dominating Wednesday’s primetime. Those dizzying heights of last week’s finale of the Lee Daniels- and Danny Strong-created drama already seem so long ago.
What didn’t seem that long ago, at least on Fox last night, was the 1980s. With appearances by Salt-N-Pepa, David Hasselhoff and a mentoring Boy George, the music of the Reagan Era was alive as they partied liked it was 1984 on American Idol (1.7/6). However, the throwback two-hour show’s ratings drop 26% from its one-hour last original of March 11 (fast nationals to fast nationals). Compared to the final numbers of that Idol two weeks ago, last night’s show was down 29% and sunk 73% from what the Empire finale drew in the 8-10 PM slot. In preliminary numbers, that’s a season low for Idol, though the show commonly sees adjustments in final numbers, so it certainly could change. Compared to March 19’s 2-hour Idol, which had no Empire companionship, last night slipped 5% among the demo. The 14th season of Idol wraps up on May 13.
Another change from last week with the end of the first season of Empire is that CBS took the top spots for Wednesday. The network had a demo rating of 1.9/6 and 9.15 million total viewers — down a tad from the 2.0/6 and 9.004 million of last week. Former top-spotter Fox was second in both categories with a 1.7/6 rating and 8.34 million viewers. On a night of a lot of declines, it was a pretty steady night for the network with Survivor (2.2/8) dipping 4% from last week and Criminal Minds (2.0/6) down 5% from its last original March 11. Freshman CSI: Cyber (1.4/5) was even with its March 18 episode. Criminal Minds was the night’s most-watched show with 9.88 million tuning in.
While down 18% from its last original of March 4 and matching a season low in preliminary numbers, the top-rated show of Wednesday was easily ABC’s Modern Family (2.8/9). Starting ABC’s night, The Middle (1.8/7) was down 18% from its last original of three weeks ago while The Goldbergs (2.0/7) fell 20% from its last new show March 4. Freshman Black-ish (2.1/7) was steady-ish with a 9% dip from its last original of March 4. Overall, thought, the 2.2/7 of ABC’s 8-10 PM comedy block topped Idol on Fox by 26%, CBS in the slot by 5% and NBC by 100%. A special Nashville: On The Record (0.8/3) fell 20% from last year’s version of April 23, 2014.
After several weeks of encores, NBC was back in full force in primetime with its first originals since February 25. However, The Mysteries Of Laura (1.0/4) was down 23% from that last new show to hit a low in preliminary numbers. At 9 PM, Law & Order: SVU (1.3/4) fell 19% from its last original of that same late February date to tie a series low in fast nationals. Ending the night for the network, Chicago P.D. (1.5/5) was even with its offering of February 25.
It was much better night for The CW, the only network to see double-digit rises in the demo. Arrow (1.0/4) was up 11% from the hard fall of last week lead-out Supernatural (0.7/2) and rose 17% from its March 18 show.