There was no American Idol on TV last night but there were some dreams being pursued – at least on cable. In a historic night of basketball, ESPN had the Golden State Warriors chasing and clinching their 73rd win this season to surpass the Chicago Bulls 1995-96 record for the most victories in a regular season by any team ever. If that wasn’t enough, Wednesday also saw L.A. Lakers legend Kobe Bryant ending his two-decade pro-career on ESPN2 with a team win at home and a remarkable 60-points score of his own.
And ESPN scored too with the GSW 125-104 win over Memphis Grizzlies pulling a 2.7 overnight rating for the sports giant and the Black Mamba’s last game drawing a 2.6 overnight result. The former is the highest-rated NBA regular season game on ESPN since a October 31, 2014 match-up between LeBron James’ Cleveland Cavaliers and his old Miami Heat team got a 3.1. overnight rating. The Lakers’ 101-96 win over the Utah Jazz was the all-time best ESPN2 has ever done with a regular season NBA game. Both games were the highest rated season finale match-ups that ESPN has ever had, in records going back 14-years.
Though not up directly against the West Coast mega-market b-ball games on the East Coast, The Voice (1.7/6). Modern Family (2.2/7) and blockbuster Empire (3.8/12) all were feeling some pain last night.
A rare Wednesday edition of the NBC series at 8 PM saw The Voice hit a low as it dipped below 2.0 for the very first time for a non-recap show. On a night where The Middle (1.7/6), The Goldbergs (1.8/6) and black-ish (1.6/5) were even with last week for ABC, Modern Family was down a tenth from its April 6 show – that’s a series low for the multi-Emmy winning comedy but there could be an adjustment in the final numbers.
For 9 PM’s Empire, Wednesday saw a 12% drop among adults 18-49 from last week’s near season low. In the early numbers, with the exception of the 3.2/10 of last year’s Thanksgiving Ever show, last night’s rating of the Fox hip hop drama matches the January 7, 2015 series debut of Empire for the show’s lowest demo result ever.
Viewershipwise, again with the exception of that holiday show of November 25, 2015, Empire’s 10.0 million was the lowest result the show has had since it started and even behind the 10.32 million that its second episode drew on January 14 last year. With Idol now gone forever, supposedly, Empire had Rosewood (1.2/4) as a lead-in. The newbie was down 14% from its last original of March 30 and dropped 39% from the first night of Idol’s 2-part finale. Fox still won the night in the key demo with a 2.5/8 rating, a decline of 17% from last week, but came second in overall audience to CBS’ 8.49 million.
On a night of overall declines, the House of Moonves had an uptick with Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders (1.5/5). Rising 25% among the 18-49s from its 9 PM April 6 show, the 10 PM spinoff actually hit its best demo result and biggest viewership (8.05 million) since its March 16 debut. The rest of CBS’ night saw Survivor (1.9/7) even with last week and Criminal Minds (1.7/6) down a tenth from its last original of March 30.
ABC also saw a 10 PM rise with Nashville (1.0/3) up a tenth over last week’s final numbers. Even with The Voice as a lead-in the 9-11 PM preview debut of NBC’s new reality series Strong (1.0/3) was just not with results way down from what dramas Law & Order: SVU and Chicago P.D. usually get in the slots. Strong moves to its regular Thursday 8 PM slot tonight.