The first “Riverdale” episode to air following Luke Perry’s death saw a 30 percent spike among adults 55 and up, and a 10 percent jump in terms of total viewers, according to Nielsen.
Wednesday’s “Fire Walk With Me” episode posted a 0.378 rating in the 55+ demo vs. last week’s “Requiem for a Welterweight,” which had a 0.290 rating in that older-adults range. Last night’s “Riverdale” also had 86,000 more “live” total viewers than the show’s previous outing, with 964,000 overall audience members compared with the prior episode’s take of 878,000.
Both received a 0.3 Live + Same Day rating among adults 18-49, which is the most sought-after demographic to those who advertise on primetime entertainment programs.
The extra CW tune-in was isolated to “Riverdale,” as the show that follows, “All American,” actually shed total viewers week to week, declining 5 percent from its previous episode.
In the closing moment of last night’s “Riverdale,” this tribute to Perry — who played Fred Andrews, Archie’s (KJ Apa) kind and loving father — flashed across the screen: “In Memoriam: Luke Perry, 1966-2019.”
Perry died Monday at the age of 52 following a massive stroke last week. On Wednesday morning, “Riverdale” showrunner Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa told fans that last night’s episode was “dedicated to Luke, as all episodes will be for the rest of our run.”
Aguirre-Sacasa, fellow executive producers Greg Berlanti, Sarah Schechter and Jon Goldwater, along with studio Warner Bros. Television and network The CW released the below statement together on Monday.
“We are deeply saddened to learn today about the passing of Luke Perry. A beloved member of the ‘Riverdale,’ Warner Bros. and CW family, Luke was everything you would hope he would be: an incredibly caring, consummate professional with a giant heart, and a true friend to all. A father figure and mentor to the show’s young cast, Luke was incredibly generous, and he infused the set with love and kindness. Our thoughts are with Luke’s family during this most difficult time.”
Perry has appeared in 52 of the 58 “Riverdale” episodes to air, including last night’s. The show has already been renewed for Season 4. Production was shut down on the series on both Monday and Tuesday after Perry’s death.
“Actor Luke Perry, 52, passed away today after suffering a massive stroke,” a spokesperson for Perry said in a statement Monday. “He was surrounded by his children Jack and Sophie, fiancé Wendy Madison Bauer, ex-wife Minnie Sharp, mother Ann Bennett, step-father Steve Bennett, brother Tom Perry, sister Amy Coder, and other close family and friends. The family appreciates the outpouring of support and prayers that have been extended to Luke from around the world, and respectfully request privacy in this time of great mourning. No further details will be released at this time.”