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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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