Washington Post

Mega-Phenom!: How New Broadcast Show Is Making Ratings History

Feb 27, 2015  •  Post A Comment

A new show on one of the major broadcast networks is doing something that hasn’t been done in the 24 years since Nielsen launched its modern ratings system.

The Washington Post reports that the Fox show “Empire” has been growing its ratings — every week.

“For an unbelievable seventh week in a row, the series — a primetime soap about a family dynasty divided by the fight to control a hip-hop empire — surged in the ratings, netting 13.8 million viewers on Wednesday. That’s up from last week’s 13 million viewers, up from the previous week’s 12 million,” entertainment reporter Emily Yahr writes in The Post.

The ratings have gone up every week since the show debuted Jan. 7 with 9.9 million viewers. After the rise during week five, “the drama became the first series since 1991 (when Nielsen started a new way of tracking ratings) to increase for a consecutive five weeks,” Yahr writes. “And the juggernaut has only continued, which is why trade publications like Variety say they need to find terms of description for it that go beyond ‘megahit’ ‘phenom’ and ‘unprecedented.'”

As points of comparison, the article mentions the viewer numbers of a number of show debuts, compared to their second week numbers, which usually FALL, not rise. For example, “How To Get Away with Murder” debuted with 14.3 million viewers, and then dipped to 12 million in week two. “The Blacklist” originally snared 12.6 million viewers for its premiere, which dropped to 11.3 million viewers in the second week. And “Lost,” back in 2004, got 18.6 million viewers in week one, which fell to 17 million viewers in week two.

Furthermore, these Live plus Same Day ratings for “Empire” do not include DVR viewing, which just adds more viewers to the weekly totals. The report notes that “Empire” was the sixth-most-watched show on broadcast last week, excluding the Oscars, while CBS’s “NCIS” was in its usual No. 1 position with 18 million viewers.



One Comment

  1. Amazing results when programmers are willing to take risks on new concepts. FOX has always been good at doing this. Great Job! Now all they have to do is fill the schedule and they will have MULTIPLE winners.

    This is what I do not understand about the Television Industry: How the networks will continually hire, fire and re-hire the same programming executives instead of looking elsewhere in the Entertainment Industry. Could “P-Diddy” program B.E.T.? Or better yet, ABC?

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