Drama’s Freshman Season Was One for the Record Books

Mar 19, 2015  •  Post A Comment

In a broadcast universe where ratings have been trending downward for a few years, a freshman series defied that trend this season in a big way.

“Fox drama ‘Empire’ capped its stunning first-year ratings performance Wednesday night with viewership gains for a tenth straight week and a demo delivery not seen by any broadcast series in six years,” Variety reports.

The show’s two-hour season finale pulled a 6.4 average rating and a 20 share Wednesday night in the key demo of adults 18-49, along with 16.5 million total viewers, according to Nielsen data. The numbers are up about 10% from a week ago, when the regular one-hour show delivered a 5.8 average (17 share) in 18-49 and 14.92 million total viewers.

For the portion of the show airing in its regular 9 p.m. time slot Wednesday night, “Empire” chalked up a 6.8/21 in 18-49 and 17.5 million total viewers.

“This means that ‘Empire’ managed to grow its audience with each of the 11 hours following its Jan. 7 premiere, which averaged 9.90 million. Wednesday’s audience for the 9 o’clock hour was up a whopping 77% (or 7.6 million viewers) from the show’s debut,” Variety reports.

The 6.8 demo rating in the finale’s second hour is easily the best number for any regularly scheduled program on broacast all season — topping the season premiere of CBS’s “The Big Bang Theory” (5.5 average) by almost 25%.

“The only entertainment series to fare better since the start of the television season in September has been AMC’s ‘The Walking Dead,’ which did a whopping 8.7 for its fifth-season premiere last October and has averaged at least a 7 rating with 10 of its 14 episodes this season,” the Variety report notes.



  1. For decades we heard Hollywood repeat the mantra..”black movies/shows don’t sell well…”. Let us hope that these words will now become an anachronism. Give us a fair chance. That is all we have ever asked for.

    • FOX is just getting back to basics that created their network…urban focused content. Back then companies would not advertise on FOX or anywhere else as they along with brands did not see minority audiences of value to them. One radio sales executive’s famous words were “we want prospects, not suspects” for our advertisers.

      Believe me…this was a true story. Ask the hardest working man in radio Tom Joyner who tore this guy apart on his radio show.

      Today these audiences have value and have arrived. Any network that isn’t jumping on the bandwagon will be left behind. Many did not believe that Lester Holt could hold up Brian Williams Nightly News audience and look how well that’s working out for NBC.

      Yes I think those words are pretty much gone. Let’s hope networks focus on quality content for their black shows and not go ghetto. That’s the tendency. And what will have to be watched closely.

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