TV Ratings: Huge ‘Empire’ finale hits series highs for FOX Wednesday

Fast National ratings for Wednesday, March 18, 2015.

As expected, FOX's “Empire” couldn't complete its first season without doing what it does best: Rising.

“Empire” capped off a remarkable spring run by topping 16.5 million viewers and rising to a 6.4 rating in the key demo for its Wednesday finale, leading FOX to a rout in all measures. 

And because this is “Empire” we're talking about, the 8 p.m. hour for the finale already hit series highs and then the 9 p.m. hour rose from there, as “Empire” neared 17.5 million viewers in its final hour.

Most of the competition wisely got out of the way of the “Empire” juggernaut, though “Survivor” pretty much held its own and “Arrow” and “Supernatural” were down a bit. With “Survivor” doing two hours, “CSI: Cyber” had to air without a “Criminal Minds” lead-in and took a big drop.

Coming out of two hours of comedy repeats, ABC got surprisingly decent numbers for the special “The Untold Story of 'The Sound of Music.'”

On to Wednesday's ratings…

Among adults 18-49, FOX averaged a 6.4 rating for Wednesday night, beating the combined competition in the key demographic. CBS was second with a 2.0 key demo rating, followed by ABC's 1.3 key demo rating. NBC and The CW both averaged a 0.8 key demo rating for the night.

Overall, FOX averaged an estimated 16.52 million viewers and a 9.5 rating/16 share for Wednesday primetime. CBS was far back in second with a solid 9 million viewers and a 5.2/9. There was a big drop to ABC's 5.7 million viewers and 3.7/6 and to NBC's 3.0/5 and 4.47 million viewers. The CW averaged 2.14 million viewers and a 1.3/2 for the night.

8 p.m. – The first hour of FOX's “Empire” finale averaged 15.58 million viewers and a 6.0 rating among adults 18-49. CBS was a distant second with 9.85 million viewers and a 2.3 key demo rating for “Survivor: Worlds Apart.” ABC's repeats of “The Middle” and “The Goldbergs” averaged 4.86 million viewers and a 1.2 key demo rating, topping the 4.45 million viewers and 0.6 key demo rating for NBC's “The Mysteries of Laura” repeat. The CW's new “Arrow” averaged 2.37 million viewers and finished fourth with a 0.8 key demo rating.

9 p.m. – “Empire” rose to 17.47 million viewers and a 6.8 rating among adults 18-49 for FOX in the 9 p.m. hour. CBS' “Survivor” remained second, but slipped to 9.22 million viewers and a 2.2 key demo rating. Repeats of “Modern Family” and “Black-ish” averaged 4.92 million viewers and a 1.4 key demo rating for ABC, topping the 4.73 million viewers and 0.8 key demo rating for NBC's “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” repeat. The CW's “Supernatural” averaged 1.91 million viewers and a 0.7 key demo rating.

10 p.m. – “CSI: Cyber” slipped to 7.94 million viewers and a 1.4 rating among adults 18-49 in its latest airing. ABC's “The Untold Story of 'The Sound of Music'” was second with 7.32 million viewers and tied for the hour lead with a 1.4 key demo rating. NBC's “Chicago PD” repeat averaged 4.23 million viewers and a 0.9 key demo rating in third.

All ratings information comes from preliminary Fast National Nielsen data, which includes live and same-day DVR viewing. All numbers are subject to change.