It was a full slate of originals on the Big 4 last night including Empire (2.4/8) and the preview debut of ABC comedy Imaginary Mary (1.4/5), but the real action was further up the dial – and we don’t mean the Legion Season 1 finale on FX.
In a remarkable game, the Golden State Warriors overcame a 22-point first-quarter deficit to beat the San Antonio Spurs 110-98. It was a win for Steph Curry and crew in the Spurs’ house at the AT&T Center, and also a big score for ESPN. With a 1.9 rating in metered market results, the game delivered the best non-Christmas overnight for the network this season. Unsurprisingly, the broadcast peaked in the 11:15-11:45 PM ET slot, when the Warriros turned on the final heat and sealed the deal.
Back on the Big 4, ABC’s Imaginary Mary — the Jenna Elfman and Rachel Dratch sitcom about a conflicted career woman and the return of the imaginary friend only she can see — started OK. While down 30% from the debut of the Minnie Driver-led Speechless in the same slot on September 21 last year, Imaginary Mary was pretty much in line with how the Scott Silveri-created show did for Speechless’ last few originals, which were as recent as March 15. Imaginary Mary moves to its regular Tuesday 9:30 PM slot on April 4.
Of course, it didn’t hurt that the lead-in for the show created by Adam F. Goldberg, David Guarascio and Happy Madison was The Goldbergs (1.7/7), up 13% from its last original of March 15. The rest of ABC’s night saw an uptick of 5% among adults 18-49 for Modern Family (2.0/7) from its last original, and Black-ish (1.5/5) even with its last new episode. Ending the night at the White House so to speak, political drama Designated Survivor (1.1/4) was also even with its March 22 show. It tied NBC’s Chicago P.D. (1.1/4), which was down a tenth to a season low, for the 10 PM demo top spot.
There were betrayals, guns, scheming grandmas, tunes and more on Empire last night as usual, but there weren’t as many viewers in the key demo. Still the highest-rated show of the night (though by thinner margins than usual), Fox’s hip-hop drama was down 14% from last week’s winter break return to hit a \series low. For a declining blockbuster like Empire, which has seen more than a few lows in its current third season, to put blame on its lead-in is thin gruel; the fact is the second week of Shots Fired (1.0/4) saw the limited series go down just a tenth from its March 22 debut.
Overall, Fox won the night in the demo as it does on Wednesdays when Empire is on with a 1.7/7, down 11% from last week. Fueled by an even Survivor (1.7/7) and its night-topping audience of 8.13 million, CBS won in nightly viewership with a total of 6.70 million.
Not that it was all pretty on the House of Moonves, with Criminal Minds (1.2/5) down a tenth to match a season-demo low. Spinoff Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders (0.9/3) was up a tenth from its March 22 show.
NBC’s Blindspot (0.9/3) was the same as last week as was the CW’s Arrow (0.5/2) in the 8 PM slot and The 100 (0.3/1) at 9 PM. In the latter slot, Law & Order SVU (1.1/4) matched its fast affiliate result of March 22, which went up a tenth in the final numbers.