There were some interesting ratings stories worth telling entering Wednesday night, and the biggest one revolved around Empire. Is all publicity really good publicity? The Jussie Smollett saga put that to the test with this show and now we have a pretty definitive answer on that: A resounding no. Not only has this incident led to a number of distractions on-set, but the ratings also stumbled for the show’s midseason premiere.
Last night’s new episode generated overall a 1.3 rating in the 18-49 demographic, down versus the midseason finale and not enough to thwart Survivor: Edge of Extinction (1.5), the #1 show of the night. There was a time in which Empire was this unstoppable, untouchable ratings juggernaut and now, it’s smack in the middle of the road. It will probably still get a season 6 renewal just because Fox doesn’t have too many scripted shows that perform better, but there are clearly tough decisions they have to make about the future of Smollett, who was written out of the final episodes and the long-term future of the show itself. With the way in which Empire loses ratings steam year after year, there’s a case to be made for turning season 6 into the final season in hopes of ending this story on a reasonably high note.
Now, let’s transition over to some other ratings discussions worth having.
Whiskey Cavalier – The new series (through at least the first couple of episodes) gave us some encouragement in terms of it being a solid, steady performer at ABC. Now that we’ve seen the ratings for week 3, we’re a little more concerned. Last night’s episode generated just a 0.6 rating, and that was opposite only the finale of The World’s Best (which posted a 0.6 of its own for the final hour), a show that likely doesn’t share too much competition with it and then also a show that probably isn’t coming back for another season.
Next week, there’s going to be another shot of trouble coming Whiskey Cavalier’s way, as SEAL Team will be returning to TV in its new 10:00 p.m. Eastern timeslot. Add to that Chicago PD returning to the air on March 27. That’s a lot of scripted competition for a show that hasn’t really faced that yet, and this has us worried about its long-term audience. We’re not even sure that it’s figured its own audience out just yet! That typically takes four or five weeks.
If there is a last-ditch glimmer of hope for Whiskey Cavalier, it’s that this is the sort of funny, lighthearted spy show that could build an audience over time since it doesn’t really require you to check out every episode live in order for you to understand what’s going on. Then again, we had the same hope for Take Two and that didn’t really get us anywhere.
All American – With another 0.2 rating and close to 630,000 viewers, the football drama is preparing for its goal-line stand. This is at least the show’s top total viewership since late January; maybe that can be your small flicker of hope as we await more news on it’s future.
What did you watch on television Wednesday night?
Be sure to share right now in the comments. (Photo: Fox.)