UPDATE 2:50 PM: Survivor, Rosewood, Empire, Modern Family and The Goldbergs were adjusted up one tenth in the finals, while Nashville and Code Black slipped down a tenth. The story has been updated accordingly.
Snapshot: New series premiere – CBS’ Code Black (1.6 in adults 18-49 in fast nationals, 1.5 in the finals); New series Week 2 retention – Rosewood (1.9, 79% in fast nationals, 2.0, 84% in the finals). Empire posted first significant slip (-18%); The Middle (2.2) became first returning scripted series to post Week 2 growth; Mysteries Of Laura, The Goldbergs and Survivor were even, all other series were down week-to-week.
Every meteoric rise has to come to an end. Empire‘s incredible run of 13 consecutive episodes of ratings growth ended last night with the second episode from Season 2 posting a 5.4 adults 18-49 rating in the fast nationals (13.7 million viewers) and 5.5 in the finals, down a modest 12% from the fast nationals last Wednesday (-18% from the finals). Last week’s season opener was even with the two-hour Season 1 finale in Live+Same Day and inched up in Live+3. The family soap won’t be able to bridge the gap in DVR viewing this time but its impressive streak will be hard to match in a universe where TV ratings erode every day.
And, even with the slip, Empire remains the highest-rated entertainment program on broadcast TV, with the 18-49 rating projected by Fox to go up to a 7.2 in L+3. Just how dominant Empire is? No other program was able to even crack the 3 demo rating last night, with the Fox drama almost doubling the delivery of the No. 2 show, ABC’s Modern Family (2.9 in fast nationals, 3.0 in finals).
After a surprisingly strong start last week, new Fox drama Rosewood (1.9 in fast nationals, 2.0in finals) was down 18% in its second outing. The Empire halo effect is still strong, with Rosewood‘s demo rating jumping from a 1.7 at 8 PM to a 2.2 at 8:30 PM as Empire fans started to tune in. Fox finished as No. 1 in 18-49 and total viewers.
Let’s give it up for The Middle, which continues to be an unsung hero of ABC’s Wednesday comedy block as a formidable 8 PM anchor. In its seventh season, the low-key comedy became the first scripted series this season to post Week 1-to-Week 2 growth, inching up a tenth from its season opener to a 2.2 in 18-49 (The Voice accomplished that on the unscripted side). The Goldbergs (2.4) was even and again built on its lead-in. Modern Family (3.0) was down -6%. A more alarming 25% Week 2 drop for Black-ish (1.8), which held up well against Empire last spring but is showing signs of vulnerability this fall. Nashville (1.2) slipped down a tenth.
Like The Goldbergs, NBC’s The Mysteries Of Laura (1.2) also was even with last week’s season premiere. Law & Order: SVU (1.7) was down a tenth from last week’s two-hour season premiere while Chicago PD (1.7) was down -11% from last September’s Season 2 debut but matched its highest-rated delivery for a non-crossover episode since it.
With an upward adjustment, CBS’ Survivor (2.4) was on par last week’s season premiere. Criminal Minds (2.0) was down 26% year-to-year in its season premiere but last fall’s open did not have to face Fox’s Empire. New medical drama Code Black debuted to a 1.5 in 18-49 (1.6 in the fast nationals), finishing No. 2 in the demo for the hour and No. 1 by a wide margin in total viewers (8.5 million).
Code Black was down 25% from the premiere of the now-defunct Stalker with a similar retention of CM lead-in. (Code Black’s retention was 75% vs. 74% for Stalker).