With all of the Big 4 having made their upfronts presentations for the 2016-2017 season, the 2015-2016 season saw its biggest show and some strong veterans say their goodbyes for now Wednesday night. This came the same night the Golden State Warriors evened their Western Conference Finals series with the Oklahoma City Thunder in a 118-91 Game 2 victory on TNT. Yet again the matchup was a winner for the Turner broadcaster with a 5.9 household rating, up 33% over the last time TNT aired the finals in 2014.
The heavyweight on the court last night was of course Empire (4.0/13), which wrapped its second season. After an 18-episode run that saw noticeable ratings declines from the dizzying heights of last year and a more than three-month break in the middle, no one expected the Lee Daniels and Danny Strong created drama to match the all-time ratings high of its Season 1 ender on March 18, 2015. And it didn’t: while up 8% from last week and getting its best demo reuslts since April 6, last night’s Empire fell 38% in adults 18-49 from its Season 1 finale. The latter’s two-hour double episode on a much less competitive night drew 16.7 million viewers, compared to the 10.8 million that tuned in last night to watch the Lyon family turn on each other and more. If you were to just compare the finales in the 9 PM slot in the key demo, last night’s ender took a 42% fall from last year.
While still easily the night’s highest rated and most watched show, Empire had a gentler 11% decline from its midseason finale of December 2 last year. Meanwhile, it was not the season finale for lead-in Rosewood (1.4/5), which was up 27% from its May 11 show. Overall and as was expected, Fox won the night with a 2.7 rating, up 13% from last week, but CBS took the viewership top spot with 8.65 million.
Survivor (2.1/7) and Modern Family (2.1/7) were also among those finishing their latest runs last night. Declaring a winner and going up against Empire’s season finale for the first time, the Mark Burnett-produced reality show was even with last week’s one-hour offering and dipped 9% in the demo from its comparable finale of May 20 last year. Head-to-head in the 9 PM slot, Survivor snagged 2.0/7, which had it 50% behind Empire. With the last 15 minutes of Survivor bleeding into the 10 PM hour, the lead-out Reunion (1.5/5) saw a 16% decline compared to its Survivor: World’s Apart get-together of May 20, 2015. However, with those spillovers into the Reunion show, expect adjustments.
On ABC, it was a finale frenzy with everyone but an even Nashville (0.8/3) wrapping it up for the year. For the 9 PM Modern Family, it was flat with last week to currently match a series low. However, compared to last year’s Season 6 finale, Modern Family was down 9% in 18-49s to a finale low. The Middle (1.6/6) and black-ish (1.5/5) finales on the Disney-owned net were even with last week and The Goldbergs (1.8/6) is even with its early numbers of May 11 but down a tenth from the adjustment it had in later results. All three were steady with last year’s season enders.
There were no finales on the CW as both Arrow (0.8/3), which ends its fifth season next week, and Supernatural (0.7/3) were even with their May 11 shows. No finales last night on NBC either, with 8 PM’s now cancelled Hearbeat (0.7/3) and 10 PM’s Chicago P.D. (1.4/5) both even with last week. That was not the case for Law & Order: SVU (1.2/4), which took a 14% drop from its May 11 show as it faced the Empire finale.