TV Ratings: 'Empire' Move Lifts 'Star,' 'SEAL Team' Gets Top Audience

The Fox flagship wins the adults 18-49 race, while CBS' lower-rated military drama leads among total viewers.
Courtesy of FOX

Empire returned for its fourth season on Wednesday night, shifting time slots (for the first time) to 8 o'clock. The move saw the Fox flagship at a premiere low — but its still impressive score helped lift sister series and new lead-out Star. (Over on CBS, there was a highly watched but lower-rated opener for SEAL Team.)

With an average 2.4 rating among adults 18-49, Empire topped the night among younger viewers — also scoring 6.9 million viewers. As for Star, it averaged a 1.8 rating in the key demo and 5.5 million viewers. That makes it the second best live-plus-same-day performance for the musical drama, outside of its 2016 premiere. There wasn't much pressure on Star in its new time slot. The freshman run, while solid, was in need of a lead-in lift.

Empire will continue to see improvement from time-shifting. All told, the third season averaged a 3.9 rating among adults 18-49 and 10.4 million viewers in Nielsen's live-plus-seven-day returns. That was after the show premiered to 4.2 live rating in the key demo, evidence that it lost some steam in that third season. Still, in the key demo, it closely trailed The Big Bang Theory and This Is Us for No. 3 status on the broadcast networks.

Over on CBS, SEAL Team topped the audience race during its time period and for the night — but, among adults 18-49, it lagged behind Star and ABC's Modern Family. David Boreanaz's latest drama averaged a 1.5 rating in the key demo and 9.7 million viewers between 9 and 10 o'clock. CBS, never short on viewers, will chalk up this strong sampling as a victory. The episode was sandwiched in between the season premieres of Survivor (1.7 adults) and Criminal Minds (1.3 adults).

It's worth noting here that every — that's every — returning series was down from year-ago premieres by 10 to 50 percent. It's not particularly pretty. 

Modern Family, earning a 2.1 rating in the key demo, led the latest iteration of ABC's comedy block. New lead-out American Housewife wasn't quite at Black-ish levels in the 9:30 p.m. slot. It averaged a 1.6 rating among adults 18-49. At the top of the night, The Goldbergs earned a 1.8 rating in the key demo and Speechless took a 1.4 rating.

The second season of ABC's Designated Survivor, while in line with its finale, lost half of its year-ago premiere audience. It averaged a 1.1 rating in the key demo and 5.5 million viewers, 10 o'clock's smallest showing.

On NBC, The Blacklist entered its new time slot with a 1.1 rating among adults 18-49, followed by Law & Order: SVU (1.4 adults) and Chicago P.D. (1.3 adults).