Ratings: ‘Empire’ Falls (Off a Rooftop) 39 Percent From Season 2 Premiere

Fox still wins Wednesday with a decent “Lethal Weapon” debut; ABC is second with strong “Designated Survivor” start

Chuck Hodes/Fox

These “Empire” Season 3 premiere numbers are big — the problem is, they’re not “Empire”-big.

The Lee Daniels hip-hop soap opera tumbled 39 percent last night in the key 18-49 demographic versus its sophomore season start. It still handed Fox an easy Wednesday win, however, and was essentially steady with its Season 2 finale.

“Empire” followed a decent debut from the new cop show “Lethal Weapon.” Last year, lead-in “Rosewood” fared better in the main demo, but worse among overall viewers.

Over on ABC, “Designated Survivor” was strong, especially considering its 10 p.m. time slot. That, coupled with “Modern Family,” gave the Disney broadcaster second place outright. A modest start for “Speechless” didn’t help the effort as much.

Fox was first in ratings with a 3.1 rating/11 share in the advertiser-coveted demo and in total viewers with an average of 9.3 million, according to preliminary numbers. “Lethal Weapon” at 8 p.m. started to a 2.2/8 and 7.8 million viewers. “Empire” at 9 earned a 4.1/14 and 10.8 million viewers.

ABC was second in ratings with a 2.2/8 and in viewers with 8.1 million. “The Goldbergs” season premiere at 8 had a 2.0/8 and 6.8 million viewers. At 8:30, “Speechless” debuted to a 2.0/7 and 7.3 million viewers. The return of “Modern Family” at 9 scored a 2.6/9 and 8.2 million viewers. “Black-ish’s” own season premiere at 9:30 got a 2.0/6 and 6.4 million viewers. “Designated Survivor” at 10 posted a 2.3/8 and 10 million viewers.

CBS was third in ratings with a 2.1/8 and in viewers with 7.8 million. The 90-minute “Survivor” premiere starting at 8 received a 2.3 and 9.4 million viewers. The next hour-and-a-half went to the “Big Brother” finale, which put up a 2.0 and 6.3 million viewers.

NBC was fourth in ratings with a 1.6/6 and in viewers with 6.9 million. “Blindspot” at 8 had a 1.3/5 and 6 million viewers. At 9, the “Law & Order: SVU” premiere got a 1.8/6 and 7.7 million viewers. The “Chicago PD” season premiere at 10 received a 1.6/5 and 6.9 million viewers.

Telemundo was fifth in ratings with a 0.7/2 and sixth in viewers with 1.6 million.

Univision was sixth in ratings with a 0.6/2 and fifth in viewers with 1.7 million.

The CW was seventh in ratings with a 0.3/1 and in viewers with 1.2 million. “Penn & Teller: Fool Us” at 8 had a 0.3/1 and 1.2 million viewers. “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” at 9 managed a 0.3/1 and 1.1 million viewers. A rerun followed.