Fox is singing a hip-hoppy tune this morning, given that its freshman drama Empire premiered on Wednesday night to 9.9 million total viewers and a 3.8 demo rating (per finals).
That marks the network’s highest-rated series launch in three years (since Touch), and ties broadcast TV’s No. 1 debut of the season, ABC’s How to Get Away With Murder.
For comparison’s sake, Red Band Society‘s debut in the same time slot (albeit with a much softer lead-in) did 4.1 mil and a 1.3, while Gotham premiered this fall to 8.2 mil/3.2 (as a Monday self-starter).
TVLine readers gave the musical-sudser an average grade of “B+.”
American Idol‘s Season 14 premiere opened Fox’s night with 11.2 million viewers and a 3.3 rating (per finals), down 26 and 32 percent from its previous opener to mark new Night 1 lows, but up from Season 13’s finale (10.5 mil/2.6).
Elsewhere, per fast nationals….
ABC | The Middle (with season highs of 8.5 mil and 2.3) and Modern Family (9.2 mil/3.2) each returned up a tenth, The Goldbergs (7.8 mil/2.5) gained three tenths to score its second-best rating ever, while black-ish (6.3 mil/2.1) slipped 14 percent and two tenths.
CBS | The Mentalist christened its new time slot with 9 million viewers and a 1.3 rating, adding a few eyeballs but down a tenth in the demo from its most recent Sunday telecast. The People’s Choice Awards (8.6 mil/1.8) were down 16 and 22 percent year-over-year.
NBC | The Mysteries of Laura (6.8 mil/1.3) slipped 16 percent in audience while ticking up a tenth in the demo. Law & Order: SVU (7.8 mil/1.7) rose 13 and 21 percent, while Chicago PD (7.4 mil/1.6) was up 11 percent and a tenth.