'Empire' easily wins the night despite decline from last fall
Credit: ABC/Ben Mark Holzberg

Two of fall’s most anticipated new dramas — ABC’s Designated Survivor and Fox’s Lethal Weapon — launched Wednesday to nearly equal ratings in the demo.

Designated Survivor, starring Kiefer Sutherland as a low-level White House staffer elevated to Commander in Chief after a terror attack, picked up 10 million viewers and had a 2.3 rating among adults 18-49 at 10 p.m.

Lethal Weapon, which has Damon Wayans and Clayne Crawford stepping into the L.A.P.D. detective roles made famous in the feature film franchise by Danny Glover and Mel Gibson, had 7.8 million and a 2.2 rating at 8 p.m.

Designated Survivor won its time period in the demo outright; Weapon was a close second to the return of CBS’ Survivor (9.4 million, 2.3). The performance of both is unspectacular for well-publicized premieres. But Designated at least heartily boosted its slot for ABC compared to last year’s Nashville.

Overall, the night was easily won by the return of Fox’s Empire (10.8 million, 4.1), which was nonetheless down 39 percent from last fall.

Also of interest Wednesday night: ABC’s new comedy Speechless (7.3 million, 2.0) matched its lead-in from The Goldbergs and NBC viewers perhaps couldn’t see Blindspot (6 million, 1.3) in its new time slot.