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Sep 29, 5:46 PM EDT

'Empire,' 'Blindspot' start strong for networks

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NEW YORK (AP) -- "Empire" came back to the Fox lineup with a flourish, while NBC's thriller "Blindspot" looks to be one of the season's hottest new shows.

Meanwhile, reliable CBS continued atop the Nielsen company's television rankings as a new broadcast season started, on the strength of old reliables like "The Big Bang Theory," "NCIS" and "60 Minutes," with younger shows "Scorpion" and "Life in Pieces" also hitting Nielsen's top 20.

A new season means new habits for viewers, or at least getting back into old ones. Among the top four networks, CBS held its own compared to the first week of last season while NBC, ABC and Fox all slipped. But Nielsen's same day ratings only tell part of the story now; networks will get a truer measure of successes and failures when they can factor in time-delayed viewing.

There's no need for second looks at "Empire," which was seen by 16.2 million viewers upon its return. Even better for Fox, half of those viewers were in the 18-to-49-year-old age group that advertisers love, and no other scripted show had as many as 6 million viewers in that demographic.

NBC's "Blindspot," the heavily promoted series about a mystery woman found in Times Square with a world of tattoos, feels like a hit out of the box with 10.6 million viewers.

CBS averaged 10.9 million viewers for the week. NBC averaged 8.9 million, and won among the 18-to-49-year-old viewers demographic. ABC had 6.9 million, Fox had 4.2 million, Univision had 2.3 million, Telemundo had 1.5 million and the CW and ION Television averaged 1 million.

ESPN as the week's most popular cable network, averaging 2.99 million viewers in prime time. The Disney Channel had 1.86 million, Fox News Channel had 1.72 million, USA had 1.59 million and Adult Swim had 1.29 million.

NBC's "Nightly News" topped the evening newscasts with an average of 8.3 million viewers. ABC's "World News" was second with 7.9 million and the "CBS Evening News" had 6.5 million viewers.

For the week of Sept. 21-27, the top 10 shows, their networks and viewerships: NFL Football: Denver at Detroit, NBC, 22.07 million; "The Big Bang Theory," CBS, 18.2 million; "NCIS," CBS, 18.19 million; NFL Football: Washington at N.Y. Giants, CBS, 16.88 million; "Empire," Fox, 16.18 million; "Sunday Night NFL Pre-Kick," NBC, 15.62 million; "60 Minutes," CBS, 15.04 million; "NFL Post-Game," CBS, 13.03 million; "NCIS: New Orleans," CBS, 12.62 million; NFL Football: N.Y. Jets at Indianapolis, ESPN, 12.48 million.


ABC is owned by The Walt Disney Co. CBS is owned by CBS Corp. CW is a joint venture of Warner Bros. Entertainment and CBS Corp. Fox is owned by 21st Century Fox. NBC and Telemundo are owned by Comcast Corp. ION Television is owned by ION Media Networks.



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