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Primetime Ratings: 'Empire' ‘Rock’ Solid in Season Premiere

Fox smash Empire continues to defy ratings gravity in season two, the premiere episode putting up a 6.5 rating in adults 18-49. Airing at 9 p.m., Empire's season two debut featured a guest turn from Chris Rock as an unsmiling prison tough, and the continued machinations of the Lyon clan as they fight for control of their hip-hop empire.

Empire's two-hour, season one finale last March scored a 6.5 rating and 16.7 million total viewers, according to Nielsen time-zone adjusted numbers.

Fox easily won the night, scoring a 4.4 rating/15 share. CBS got the silver with a 2.3/8, on the back of a strong Survivor, while ABC put up a 2.1/7, NBC a 1.6/5 and The CW a 0.3/1.

Fox's rookie drama Rosewood debuted to a 2.4.

Ninety minutes of Survivor on CBS, this installment set in Cambodia, averaged 2.4, level with its spring premiere. Then 90 minutes of Big Brother scored a 2.2, down 15% from last season's finale.

ABC's The Middle showed a 2.1, up 19% from the 1.7 it closed with last spring. The Goldbergs opened to a 2.4, up 20% from last May's 2.0. Modern Family had a 3.1, up 13% from the finale's 2.7, and black-ish a 2.4, up 13% from the finale's 2.1. Nashville's season debut scored a 1.3, same as it left off with last spring.

Over on NBC, The Mysteries of Laura showed a 1.2, up 9% from its season finale. The 17th season premiere of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, with two episodes from 9 to 11 p.m., averaged a 1.7, up 21% from its 1.4 finale last season.

The CW's America's Next Top Model and A Wicked Offer were down tenth at 0.4 and 0.2, respectively.

Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.