Ratings: ‘Empire’ Finale Plummets 42 Percent from Season 1, Still Wins Wednesday Night

Season 2 of Fox’s hip-hop drama fails to match success of freshman season

empire season 2 finale
Chuck Hodes/Fox

“Empire’s” Season 2 finale was by far the top-rated show on Wednesday night–but Fox’s hit hip-hop drama fell significantly from the Season 1 finale’s lofty heights, according to Nielsen estimates.

Last night’s episode drew in an impressive 10.8 million total viewers and a 4.0 rating in the advertiser coveted adults 18-49 demographic, making it the top rated show of the night. The Season 1 finale, by comparison, managed 17.6 million viewers and a 6.9 rating. That is a 38 percent drop in viewers and 42 percent in the demo season over season.

To be fair, “Empire’s” first season smashed ratings records during its initial run, so it’s not at all unexpected that the show’s second season would not be able to match that. Season 2 was also 18 episodes, while Season 1 was just 12.

But also consider that Season 2 started with 16.1 million viewers and a 6.7 rating when it premiered back in September. That means the show was down 33 percent in total viewers and 40 percent in the demo just from the start of the season to the end.

“Empire” handed Fox a win in the demo for the night with a 2.7 rating overall, while the network finished second in total viewers with an average of 7.7 million. “Rosewood” aired at 8 p.m. and managed 4.7 million viewers and a 1.4 rating. “Empire” followed at 9.

CBS finished second in the demo with a 1.9 rating and first in total viewers with 8.7 million. The season finale of “Survivor” aired from 8-10, averaging 9.6 million viewers over the two hour period and a 2.1 rating. The reunion special, which included the final 15 minutes of the finale, aired at 10 and pulled in 6.8 million viewers and a 1.5 rating.

ABC finished third in the demo with a 1.4 rating and fourth in total viewers with 5.4 million. The season finale of “The Middle” got 6.7 million viewers and a 1.6 rating at 8. At 8:30, the season finale of “The Goldbergs” got 6.3 million viewers and a 1.8 rating. The season finale of “Modern Family” scored 6.8 million viewers and a 2.1 rating at 9. The season finale of “Black-ish” got 5.1 million viewers and a 1.5 rating at 9:30. “Nashville” – the soap recently canceled by the network – closed things out at 10 with 3.8 million viewers and a 0.8 rating.

NBC came in fourth in the demo with a 1.1 rating and third in total viewers with 5.5 million. “Heartbeat” got 3.8 million viewers and a 0.7 rating at 8. “Law & Order: SVU” got 5.6 million viewers and a 1.2 rating at 9. At 10, “Chicago P.D.” scored 6.9 million viewers and a 1.4 rating.

The CW finished fifth with a 0.7 rating and 2.0 million viewers. “Arrow” pulled in 2.2 million viewers and a 0.8 rating at 8. At 9, “Supernatural” got 1.9 million viewers and a 0.7 rating.

Telemundo finished sixth with a 0.6 rating and 1.6 million viewers.

Univision came in seventh with a 0.6 rating and 1.4 million viewers.