Ratings: ‘Empire’ Strikes Back With 16 Million Viewers for Season 2 Premiere

Fox hip-hop soap opera dominates Wednesday night with a 6.5 rating in key 18-49 demographic

EMPIRE: Taraji P. Henson as Cookie Lyon and Terrence Howard as Lucious Lyon in the ÒThe Devils Are HereÓ Season Two premiere episode of EMPIRE airing Wednesday, Sept. 23 (9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. ©2015 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: Chuck Hodes/FOX.

“Empire” is back — and it has returned with a vengeance.

The Fox hip-hop soap opera scored 16 million total viewers on its Wednesday Season 2 premiere, hauling in a 6.5 rating/20 share in the key 18-49 demographic. That viewer number may not be quite as massive as the Season 1 finale’s gaudy 16.7 million, but it is way up from its series debut. The 6.5 demo rating matches the freshman-year finale.

The Season 1 premiere of Lee Daniels‘ “Empire” had netted a very strong 3.8 demo rating and 9.9 million viewers, per final Live Plus Same Day Nielsen numbers.

Fox was first in ratings with a 4.4/15 in the main demo and in total viewers with an average of 11.7 million, according to preliminary numbers. The series debut of “Rosewood” at 8 p.m. ET earned a 2.4/9 and 7.4 million viewers. The highly anticipated return of “Empire” followed.

CBS was second in ratings with a 2.3/8 and in viewers with 8.1 million. The season premiere of “Survivor” at 8 received a 2.4/9 and 9.6 million viewers. The “Big Brother” finale at 9:30 had a 2.2/7 and 6.5 million viewers.

ABC was third in ratings with a 2.1/7 and fourth in viewers with 7.1 million, with a lineup of all season premieres. “The Middle” at 8 p.m. got a 2.1/8 and 8.2 million viewers. “The Goldbergs” at 8:30 posted a 2.4/8 and 7.6 million viewers. “Modern Family” at 9 scored a 3.1/10 and 9.3 million viewers. At 9:30, “Black-ish” slipped 27 percent from its series debut last year to a 2.4/7 and had 7.3 million viewers. “Nashville” at 10 received a 1.3/4 and 5 million viewers.

NBC was fourth in ratings with a 1.6/5 and third in viewers with 7.8 million, also airing only premieres. “The Mysteries of Laura” started its second season at 8 p.m. falling 40 percent from last year’s series debut to a 1.2/4; Wednesday’s episode had 6.9 million viewers. At 9, “Law & Order: SVU” posted a 1.7/6 — down 23 percent from last year — and 8.2 million viewers.

Univision and Telemundo tied for fifth in ratings, both with a 0.7/2. Univision was fifth in total viewers with 2.1 million, Telemundo was sixth with 1.7 million.

The CW was seventh in ratings with a 0.3/1 and in viewers with 939,000. “America’s Next Top Model” at 8 had a 0.4/2 and 1.4 million viewers. “Wicked Offer” at 9 got a 0.2/1 and 522,000 viewers.