TV Ratings: ‘Designated Survivor’ Debuts Solid, ‘Empire’ Down

Daniel Holloway

ABC’s “Designated Survivor,” one of three new broadcast series to debut Wednesday night, gave a solid performance in its first outing. The Kiefer Sutherland drama pulled in a 2.3 ratings among adults 18-49 and 10 million total viewers, according to Nielsen overnight ratings. That’s just shy of double what the season premiere of “Nashville” did in the demo occupying the same timeslot last year in both measures.

Leading off the night for ABC, the season premiere of “The Goldbergs” drew a 2.0 in the demo and 6.8 million viewers, down 17% in the demo and 11% in total viewers from last year’s season premiere at 8:30 p.m. In that timeslot this time around, the series premiere of “Speechless” held steady with its lead-in in the demo but grew in all viewers, with 7.3 million. The season premiere of “Modern Family” followed with a 2.6 (down 19%) and 8.2 million viewers (down 14%). The season premiere of  “Black-ish” ran between “Modern Family” and “Designated Survivor,” drawing a 2.0 (down 17%) and 6.4 million viewers (down 12%). ABC was the only network to average a higher rating Wednesday than it did on the equivalent night last season, finishing second with an average 2.2 rating and 8 share in the demo.

Empire” was the night’s top show, drawing a 4.1 in the demo and 10.8 million total viewers, but was down significantly from last fall’s season-two debut (6.7, 16.2 million). The series premiere of “Lethal Weapon” at 8 p.m. drew a 2.2 and 7.8 million viewers, down 8% in the demo, but up 4% in total viewers from the series premiere of “Rosewood” last fall in the same time period.

On CBS, “Survivor” premiered its new cycle to a 2.3 in the demo (down 8% from last fall’s premiere) and 9.4 million total viewers (down 3%). The season finale of “Big Brother” followed with a 2.1 and 6.3 million viewers.

NBC’s “Blindspot” returned to a 1.3 demo rating and 6 million viewers — even in the demo with last season’s finale, which aired on a Monday at 10 p.m., and up 2% in total viewers. The season premiere of “Law & Order: SVU” drew a 1.8 and 7.7 million viewers. “Chicago PD” drew a 1.6 and 6.7 million.

Fox was the night’s top broadcaster with a 3.1 / 10. CBS averaged a 2.1 / 8 and NBC a 1.6 / 6. The CW averaged a 0.3 / 1 with reruns.

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