Empire Ratings Record

Ratings: Empire Returns Very Strong, Just Shy of Record Numbers

The Lyons are still king. In a big way.

Fox’s Empire opened Season 2 on Wednesday night with 16.2 million total viewers and a 6.7 rating (per finals), dipping just 8 percent and two tenths from the second hour of its record-setting freshman finale (17.6 mil/6.9).

Versus its series debut, for those who may wonder, Empire was up 64 and 76 percent — the largest Season 1/Season 2 leap in 10 years, since House.

In a TVLine poll, 60 percent predicted Empire would return higher than its finale. TVLine readers gave the Season 2 premiere an average grade of “B+.”

Opening Fox’s night, the tepidly reviewed Rosewood debuted to 7.5 mil and a 2.4, nearly doubling both Hell’s Kitchen‘s year-ago numbers (3.7 mil/1.3) and Red Band Society‘s year-ago launch (4 mil/1.3, at 9 pm).

Elsewhere….

NBC | The Mysteries of Laura returned to 7.1 mil/1.2, up from its freshman finale (7.3 mil/1.1) and scoring its best rating since Feb. 25. SVU‘s two-hour opener (8.3 mil/1.8) was down 18 and 23 percent from its previous premiere — marking a series low for a premiere — but up from its May finale (7.2 mil/1.4) and netted its biggest non-crossover audience in a year.

ABC | The Middle (8.2 mil/2.1) and The Goldbergs (7.6 mil/2.4) both surges vs. their May finales and veritably matched their previous premieres. Modern Family (9.5 mil/3.2) and black-ish (7.3 mil/2.4) surged from their finales but were down sharply from previous premieres. Nashville (4.9 mil/1.2) slipped 14 percent from its year-ago opener but ticked up from its finale.

CBS | Survivor (9.7 mil/2.5) was even with its previous premiere, while Big Brother (6.5 mil/2.2) slipped 7 and 15 percent from its previous finale.

Original Story: Fox’s Empire opened Season 2 on Wednesday night with a 10.4 rating/17 share in metered-market households, based on very preliminary data cited by TV Media Insights. That marks the Fox megahit’s second-best metered-market rating ever, trailing only the two-hour freshman finale (which averaged 10.8/17).

Want scoop on any of the above shows? Email insideline@tvline.com and your question may be answered via Matt’s Inside Line.