Fox kicked off its midseason premieres on a strong note Wednesday, as the debut of hip-hop drama Empire posted a 3.8 rating with adults 18-49 and 9.9 million total viewers, according to Nielsen.
The numbers for Empire were the highest for a series premiere for Fox since Touch in January 2012 and ties with ABC’s How to Get Away With Murder as the season’s top debut in the demo. Empire also ranked as the top-rated show in the demo on Wednesday night.
In the demo, Empire built off its lead in from the season premiere of American Idol, which returned to a 3.2, down 32% from last year’s debut and the lowest premiere in the show’s 14-year history. Idol, which saw its premiere downsized to just an hour this year, averaged 11.2 million total viewers, also a low.
Fox led Wednesday night with an overall 3.5 rating/10 share.
ABC returned its Wednesday lineup for the first time in 2015 to finish second with a 2.0/6. The Middle rose 5% to a 2.3 and The Goldbergs improved 14% to a 2.5. Modern Family, improving 3% to a 3.2, topped American Idol to place second on the night, while Black-ish fell 9% to a 2.1 rating.
CBS placed third with a 1.6/5. The Mentalist premiered in its new time slot to a 1.3, down 7% from its last Sunday episode, while The People’s Choice Awards dipped 25% from last year’s show to a 1.8 rating.
NBC finished with a 1.5/5, as its lineup was up across the board from their last originals in 2014. Mysteries of Laura rose 8% to a 1.3, Law & Order was up 21% to a 1.7, while Chicago P.D. improved 7% to a 1.6 rating.
The CW aired repeats.