We have to give some credit here where credit is due: We did not imagine there being a situation at any point where “Empire” was going to become the ratings smash that it already is. At best, we thought that this would be a show with a 2.5 rating in the 18-49 demographic, which in turn is still enough for it to be considered a hit.
Now that we’ve seen the ratings for two episodes, that is clearly not the case. For its second installment Wednesday night, the Terence Howard – Taraji P. Henson show actually saw its numbers increase all the way up to a 4.0. When was the last time that a new show on Fox actually improved like this? We cannot name it off the top of our head, but this is the best non-“American Idol” rating for the network (Super Bowl specials excluded) in years. With the ratings for Fox elsewhere, they may as well start airing “Empire” five nights a week. (We kid … sort of.) We do think a season 2 renewal is going to be coming very quickly.
Meanwhile, “American Idol XIV” (2.9) actually slipped a little from last week’s premiere, which further makes this lineup awkward. Years ago, we talked about how this show was Fox’s ultimate lead-in, and how most of the shows that aired after it would lose a good chunk of its audience.
What makes “Empire’s” success potentially all the more startling is merely the fact that this is a show that had most of its competition new last night. It defeated “Modern Family,” “Criminal Minds,” and “Law & Order: SVU.” Sure, The CW was in repeats, but that’s not going to be a threat to it in the slightest.
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