After struggling in the ratings this fall, Fox just received some very welcome news: Wednesday night’s hip-hop drama Empire has opened strong. We Did It!!
The Lee Daniels directed drama, which stars Terrence Howard and Taraji P. Henson, premiered last night and delivered mega ratings.
The show’s first episode was watched by a whopping 9.8 million viewers.
The figure puts the series in the same ratings bracket as some of today’s top shows, including popular Afro-American led titles such as ‘Scandal’ and ‘How To Get Away With Murder’.
As much of a coup of the numbers are for all involved, it will be interesting to see how the series performs moving forward.
Its opening episode benefitted from a smart lead-in from Fox flagship show ‘American Idol’ and will continue to for the duration of the season.
Still, on the strength of ‘Empire’s cast and storylines, we hope this continues its winning streak on its own accord.
Empire premiered to 9.8 million viewers and a 3.7 rating among adults 18-49. That’s Fox’s highest-rated series debut in three years (since 2012’s Touch). Empire ranks as the top-rated show in the demo, beating ABC’s Modern Family head-to-head, and grew from its Idol lead-in by 19 percent. Empire outperformed Fox’s heavily hyped Gotham premiere this fall, and managed to retain its rating throughout its hour — another good sign.
As expected, Idol was another story. The music competition series had a downsized hour-long premiere at 8 p.m. that delivered 10.9 million viewers and a 3.1 rating — down 34 percent from last year and marking a series low for a premiere episode of the 15-year-old franchise.
Until now, Fox has had a very rough season trying to launch new hits. Gotham has performed quite well and has demonstrated stability — a rarity for a serialized drama. Yet its big reality experiment Utopia bombed, as did freshman dramas Red Band Society and Gracepoint, as well as new comedy Mulaney. Given its Idol lead-in, Fox likely felt Empire, which stars Terrence Howard as a music mogul, had the best shot at breaking out, plus was obviously a good thematic companion for its music competition series.