Fox’s ‘Empire’ Notches TV’s Highest-Rated Freshman Season Finale in Almost 10 Years — and That’s Just One of the Show’s Impressive Achievements

Apr 7, 2015  •  Post A Comment

Fox’s freshman drama series “Empire” continues to set the kind of ratings marks that haven’t been seen on broadcast in years.

Citing Nielsen Live+7 figures that include time-shifted viewing, Fox announced that the season finale, which aired March 18, delivered 23.1 million viewers, with a 9.3 average rating and 28 share in the key demo of adults 18-49.

“This marks TV’s highest-rated freshman season finale in nearly 10 years (since ‘Grey’s Anatomy’s’ first season finale on 5/22/05 — 9.8/24 rating),” Fox announced.

The achievement comes even as much of the Fox lineup struggles to retain viewers, with the network’s overall numbers down 19% year-to-date in 18-49. (See related story.)

“The ‘Empire’ finale episode continued to show strength with African-American viewers, posting a 43.4/94 rating with African-American Adults 18-49 — a +30% higher rating in that demo than this year’s Super Bowl (33.3/70) in the Live +7s,” Fox noted. “And while the ‘Empire’ finale dominated in Women demos, it delivered a huge male audience as well — 8.5 million Men 18-49 watched the finale within 7 days.”

The “Empire” finale also notched big gains via delayed viewing.

“The season finale of ‘Empire’ posted a +66% gain versus its premiere in Adults 18-49 Live + 7 Day (9.3/28 vs. 5.6/16) — the most substantial growth of any new broadcast series in over nine years (since ‘House’ in the 04/05 season),” Fox noted. “And according to Nielsen Social Guide, ‘Empire’s’ two finale hours generated 122 million earned impressions on Twitter (the # of times ‘Empire’-related tweets appeared in Twitter feeds) within the 7 day window.”

The drama series averaged a 7.1 rating (21 share) in 18-49 over the course of its season, Fox added.

Among the achievements Fox is touting for “Empire’s” first season:

• No. 1 broadcast series in Adults 18-49 and Adults 18-34

• No. 1 show overall among African American Adults 18-49

• No. 1 new series among Hispanic (English-household) Adults 18-49

• No. 1 broadcast series among Women 18-49

• No. 1 new series among Men 18-49

• No. 1 series on Social Media (with an average 627,369 tweets per live/new episode)

• Highest-rated broadcast drama since the 2007/08 season (Desperate Housewives 7.3/17 and Grey’s Anatomy 8.4/20)

• Highest-rated freshman series since 2004/05 (Grey’s Anatomy 8.1/20 and Desperate Housewives 10.6/24)

“In addition, ‘Empire’ continues to draw significant multi-platform viewing this season,” Fox adds. “Averaging a multiplatform audience of more than 21.0 Mil over its first seven weeks, ‘Empire’ delivers Fox’s largest 30 Day Multi-Platform average audience ever.”


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