Fox’s ‘Empire’ Continues Unprecedented Ratings Growth

Fox's 'Empire' Continues Unprecedented Ratings Growth

UPDATE: In updated national estimates from Nielsen, Fox’s “Empire” was revised upward to a 4.8 rating/15 share in adults 18-49 and 11.96 million viewers overall — gains of 4% in both 18-49 (from 4.6) and total viewers (from 11.47 million). The show is now so big that even at half this demo level (2.4), it out-rates 18 of the 19 other dramas to have aired so far this week on ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox.

“American Idol” also edged up in the nationals (2.8/9 in 18-49, 10.66 million viewers overall).

CW’s “Arrow” was revised up to a 1.1/4 in 18-49 and 2.67 million total viewers, leaving it just a tick behind last week’s rating, which was the show’s best of the season (excluding its crossover episode with “The Flash”).

Elsewhere, college basketball pre-emptions in some small markets resulted in downward revisions at the other networks. ABC’s “The Goldbergs” (2.2/7 in 18-49, 6.87 million viewers overall) and “Black-ish” (2.1/6 in 18-49, 6.83 million viewers overall) both were down a tick, as was NBC’s “The Mysteries of Laura” (1.0/3 in 18-49, 5.82 million viewers overall).

At CBS, both “The Mentalist” (1.4/5 in 18-49, 9.10 million viewers overall) and “Criminal Minds” (1.9/6 in 18-49, 9.89 million viewers overall) gave back a tenth, leaving the latter at its season low.


Fox’s scorching-hot first-year drama “Empire” continued on its run of unprecedented growth on Wednesday, hitting a series high in viewership for the fifth straight week since its premiere and standing as easily the night’s No. 1 program in key demos. Also of note on the night were gains for CBS’ “The Mentalist” one week from its series finale.

According to preliminary national estimates from Nielsen, “Empire” (4.7 rating/14 share in adults 18-49, 11.9 million viewers overall) was up a tick in the demo while gaining about 400,000 total viewers to hit new highs in both categories. Since bowing with 9.9 million viewers on Jan. 7, the soap has grown with each week: 10.3 million, 11.1 million, 11.4 million, 11.5 million and now 11.9 million.

Last week, it became the first program in the history of Nielsen’s People Meters (going back to 1991) to grow in total viewers with each of its four episodes following its premiere. And last night, it added to its record.

In its 9 o’clock timeslot, “Empire” beat runner-up ABC’s comedy hour by 6 shares in adults 18-49, by 4 shares in adults 25-54 and by a monster 9 shares in adults 18-34. Roughly 64% of its 18-49 audience was female, but it still led its hour in the men 18-49 demo by more than 50% (3.4 vs. 2.2).

Among the large markets monitored with Nielsen People Meters, “Empire” fared best in Atlanta, Detroit and St. Louis (a 25 share for each). It also did a 21 share in Washington, D.C., and a 20 in both Chicago and Philadelphia.

“Empire” continued its ascent even though lead-in “American Idol” (2.7/9 in 18-49, 10.4 million viewers overall) was down about 10% to a season-low Wednesday score. The music competition still won its hour across the board, including by 2 shares in both 18-49 and 25-54.

Fox dominated the night, winning across the board. In adults 18-49, its 3.7 average matched the combined scored of second-place ABC (2.1) and third-place CBS (1.6).

At CBS, “The Mentalist” (1.5/5 in 18-49, 9.0 million viewers overall), which wraps its seven-season run with a two-hour finale next week, spiked 25% (0.3) from last week to match its highest rating since its season premiere on a Sunday in late November. “Criminal Minds” (2.0/6 in 18-49, 10.0 million viewers overall) was on par with recent weeks, and like its lead-in ranked third in its timeslot in demos and second in total viewers.

Closing the night for CBS was “Stalker” (1.4/4 in 18-49, 7.6 million viewers overall), which tied with ABC’s “Nashville” (1.4/4 in 18-49, 5.2 million viewers overall) and NBC’s “Chicago PD” (1.4/4 in 18-49, 6.5 million viewers overall) for a rare three-way tie in 18-49. The CBS rookie won outright in adults 25-54 ans total viewers.

ABC had a solid night with its comedy block, as “The Middle” (2.1/7 in 18-49, 7.9 million viewers overall), “The Goldbergs” (2.3/7 in 18-49, 6.9 million viewers overall), “Modern Family” (3.3/10 in 18-49, 9.8 million viewers overall) and “Blackish” (2.2/6 in 18-49, 6.9 million viewers overall) placed second to Fox in 18-49. “Middle,” “Goldbergs” and “Modern Family” were in line with their prior originals, while “Blackish” topped its two most recent firstrun episodes.

Closing the night, “Nashville” (1.4/4 in 18-49, 5.2 million viewers overall) was up a tenth from last week’s winter premiere.

At NBC, “The Mysteries of Laura” (1.1/4 in 18-49, 6.0 million viewers overall) and “Law & Order: SVU” (1.4/4 in 18-49, 6.2 million viewers overall) both gained a tenth from their prior two originals, but “Chicago PD” was down and matched its series low.

CW’s “Arrow” (1.0/3 in 18-49, 2.6 million viewers overall) came down from last week’s above-average scores, while “The 100” (0.6/2 in 18-49, 1.6 million viewers overall) was in line with last week; its preliminary 0.6 ratings in recent weeks have consistently been revised down to a 0.5 in the nationals.

Preliminary 18-49 averages for the night: Fox, 3.7/12; ABC, 2.1/7; CBS, 1.6/5; NBC, 1.3/4; Univision, 1.1/3; CW, 0.8/2; Telemundo, 0.6/2.

In total viewers: Fox, 11.2 million; CBS, 8.9 million; ABC, 7.0 million; NBC, 6.2 million; Univision, 2.8 million; Telemundo, 1.4 million.

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  1. The season finale is going to be epic! The music so far has been dope, so I can’t wait to hear the music in the context of the show! I just bought my copy of the sound track of iTunes!

  2. zyggie says:

    The character Cookie…..Wow….Luv the character and actress. Cookie, Cookie….
    Call the show what you want to but it is well written, acted and the music is awesome. Haters will Hate so…..keep on hating babies.

  3. zyggie says:

    Still watching Empire and STILL in awe. It is a really good show.

  4. debra m says:

    I hope they continue empire I love that show got my daughter watching we just can’t wait till wed gets here

  5. Quevilla Hopkins says:

    Empire is one of the best shows I’ve seen in years the suspense and excitement along with great music and some top performers this show has it all I’ll watch it as long as it comes on television!!!!!

  6. Ebony Bryant says:

    Currently streaming Empire’s tracks on Spotify right now! They’re amazing!

  7. This show is awesome! I listen to the music all day everyday. I have “Drip Drop” on repeat right now!

  8. Dr. Reg says:

    Taraji, Terrence, and Jussie have made this show “WORK!” I cannot get enough of the drama – that is the real life music game wrapped in a cloak of family scandal. The show is so juicy that I hate Lee Daniels in a good way. I’m addicted. I’ve watched all the lead up clips on TWC at least 3 times and I have seen every episode twice. I wanted to see Jamel slap the taste out of Lucious’ mouth when he kicked him out. I know a female like Cookie – she don’t play. Taraji I stopped watching “Person of Interest” when they killed off your character. The show is not the same and trust – CBS knows it. You brought ratings GOLD to FOX – along with your stellar co-Star, Mr. Howard (if ya nasty). Keep bringing it hard and I’ll (we’ll) keep watching. By the way, Lee Daniels, you are THE MAN – Director Extraordinaire.

  9. zyggie says:

    The show is very good. The acting is excellent. I did not want to watch it thinking oh no, another gangster movie but, pleasantly surprised that it is really a good watch. The music is so on point with the show and T.Henson and T. Howard are sooooo good.

  10. Proof that the whole world is stupid….watching a show glorifying vile, autotune, gangsta “music” and the MORONS who put it out.

    • Jennifer says:

      You’re calling people stupid but you’re sounding pretty ignorant right now. Have you even watched one episode yet? If you really did, then you know it’s not all “gangsta music” as you’ve perceived it to be, there’s a variety of R&B and modern rap, etc. Honestly I don’t think you know what gangsta music really sounds like. Please actually watch it before you say something

  11. larone40 says:

    Absolutely genius, I love this show

  12. Just Sayin' says:

    Congrats to Lee Daniels and crew for making a show where the characters each have their own agendas aka Lives/Lone POVs. Thrilled Taraji and Terrence center the entire cast which keeps surprising me at how they each have their own arcs that keep growing at a great pace!

  13. silkyfine49 says:

    I enjoys this show, so excited about this Wednesday, Cookie you go girl ☆

  14. 1favored says:

    It’s not a soap!

    • in says:

      Empire is a soap, of course. Even the writers and creators know that.

    • KansasGuest says:

      Of course it is. Soap operas are just modern-day Greek tragedies (and comedies). Family drama, grown children vying for their place of power, out-of-favor ex-wives trying to assert control & influence, unplanned children – it all goes back to the Greeks. Their mythology had all those things, & inspired centuries of writers, including Shakespeare…who in turn inspired everyone else.

    • It is a night time soap, loosely based on The Lion in Winter. It is as soapy as you can get with better music.

    • JimB says:


      Yes, it is a soap opera! The creators (Lee Daniels & Danny Strong) of the show have stated they wanted to create a “black Dynasty.” Empire is the love child soap operas like Dynasty and The Sopranos.

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