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‘Empire’ Breaks Fox TV’s 22 Year Old Ratings Record

'Empire' Breaks Fox TV’s 22 Year Old Ratings Record

Last week, Tambay
reported that Fox TV’s prime time hip-hop soap opera “Empire” was renewed for a
second season (HERE). No doubt the network was happy with the ratings for the
show, and felt that it was strong enough to survive its first season.

But now we
know how happy. The show has broken a 22-year long record on the Fox Network, becoming
first the first show since 1993 to actually
increase its ratings, and the number of viewers, the following 2 weeks, after
the premiere episode.

As TV-by-the-Numbers reported (HERE), this sort of thing is practically “unprecedented
in modern television history.” The show premiered with a 3.8 adult 18-49
rating, but then climbed to a 4.0 for its second episode, and then jumped again to a 4.4 rating for its third episode.

The last
time any program did that on Fox was back in 1993 – a long forgotten detective
series called “Moon Over Miami.” But that show, after the third episode, started to
drop badly in the ratings, and eventually, it was cancelled after ten episodes.

No fear of that
happening with “Empire,” but I’m baffled as to why the show has become so popular with
its old, tired clichés from literally every prime time TV soap opera, made in the last 30 years. Is it the music? Or black people wearing expensive, shiny clothes, on expensive shiny sets, and driving expensive shiny cars?

At least we
know where all those millions of black
viewers not watching Fox News, are; they’re watching “Empire” on Fox TV. But remember
they’re both still owned by the same guy.

This Article is related to: Television and tagged


jeptoo phibian

i think empire is among the best and most successful soaps have seen…cheers


This is the most ignorant article ever some people are always trying bringing people down because there jealousy empire is the best tv show yet i feel like the person who wrote this article is white because some of u don’t get the struggles that some of use have to go through these people have worked hard to get where they are especially Taraji and Terrence, Taraji lost here childs father and still keep her head up and followed her dream to become an actor.Terrence came from a very hard childhood and this is what u people have to say about these people coming up. YOU PEOPLE NEED GOD.Some people are used to getting stuff handed to them not everybody have such and rich fantastic life. Next time think before u wright such an hartless thing about people who have worked there asses of for this moment wright here.

Jodene Beukes

Its an awesome series and im looking forward to the next season#LOVE HAKEEM LYON




Don’t forget there is a black man seated on your white throne you white moron! Say what you’ve got to!

Tiara miller

I like the shwo empire it is so fun and I like yazz he is so pretty to me


I’m so glad I don’t watch this show. I only watched one episode (because my half-sister just HAD to watch it when I came to visit her) and it was complete garbage.


This is a WHITE show on a racist network that is produced by WHITE people, directed by a Black man and eaten up by the Black public with all of it’s cliche’s and low-balling black folks. I am disappointed.


you suck. this article sucks. your warped views on what constitute good tv sucks.


He sounds like an angry, jealous bitch. I suppose You are homo aren’t you?

Ex Con

Lauren, yes, you’re absolutely right. *lol* I thought it was obvious? It WAS that silly. We’d be in big trouble if someone actually felt that way. OUCH!!!


Empire is a great series. Especially Taraji P. Henson. She’s the only reason I’m watching this. She and Azmarie.


@Troublemaker… when I saw ex con referred to Jay-Z as Jay-C, I read the rest of his post as satire. It’s that silly. LOL


@Ex-Con I’m about giving anyone a second chance but why does everything about black folks have to be about drugs, pimping, hoeing, the hood and killing? Jay-Z is no Berry Gordy. If it wasn’t for Berry Gordy there would have never been hope for a Jay-Z. Why couldn’t they show someone more like Berry Gordy? We’ve been there done that with the Jay-Zs in the blaxploitation films. Las Vegas was built up by mob money but do we constantly see this in films and TV series? Some of the most "prestigious" companies were built up on slave labor but do we ever see this in a TV series and films? Joseph Kennedy Sr. built his empire selling illegal moonshine but do you ever see this in movies or TV series about the Kennedys? He always portrayed as a shrewd business man. I have no problem with giving second chances. Why couldn’t Lucious have gone to jail for insider trading? Why couldn’t he did what Judge Mathis did? Mathis got into trouble in his teens and turned his life around. Why couldn’t he have been wrongfully convicted of a crime that he didn’t commit? There are so many richer engaging intelligent stories that coon Daniels could have focus on but why did he need to focus on very negative stereotypes that have been done so many times before?


@Troublemaker— yeah I’m sure those titles are in the pipeline! LOL…Granted I didn’t see the Butler, but Mr. Daniels certainly doesn’t shy away from over the top, grotesque imagery- from the never ending horrors of Precious to the stomach churning Paperboy. Now the horror arrives in sheep’s clothing lit beautifully as the overwrought vibrato of Jamal ushers the herd.

b.l. wilson

I loved the 2 main characters as well as the actors playing them. I don’t remember seeing much about the record industry. I hope this series sheds a little light on this.


@Ex-Con Brilliant rebuttal! LMAO


@ Troublemake, don’t you believe in giving a person a second chance? Those shows may have criminals but Jay-C made it out after dealing. And those shows are captivating because it depicts the finer things in life a person can achieve if they are smart and dress nice and drive big cars. They show economics on the black hand side and characters on the black hand side that we can relate to. Shows that finally show black people having something nice, even though we came up on the rough side of the street. You’re right, it’s all good as long as black folks look good and live lrge on the screen.

Ol' Skool

BANNED!? I always loved this website for its intelligent readers who posted thought provoking comments. You, natattack, should be barred. Silly comments like yours, which suggests rudimentary sarcasm goes over your head, gives the place a black eye.


Dude that’s just gross. I always loved this website for ita. Integrity towards the film industry of our days, this writer should be banned


this show has it all; interracial, LGBT and older man younger woman relationships but the part of the show that attracts viewers is the music. The music is excellent; good and clean.


@Lauren I just hope these same folks that think Empire is good don’t complain when Coon Daniels or any Hollywood executives come out with other series like "Big Pimpin’" about a pimp who became a mogul, "Jailbird" about a man in and out the prison system that he just learn to stop worrying and love the backside, "Crackhead" about a man who becomes a mogul selling crack and smoking crack, "Babymama" about a woman who became a mogul from collecting welfare checks. I guess it’s all good as long as black folks look good and live large on screens.


@ Lauren, I agree, sad but true, some folks simply don’t know they’re being played. In fact, the relationship between the purveyors of this brand of entertainment and those who enjoy it, reminds me of the pimp, his ladies and the Johns. The purveyors (pimps and producers) reap all the rewards, and the audience (Johns & Empire viewers) praise the offerings. The ladies of the night and the audience are both being played and they don’t even know it. They’ll even go as far as telling others how much they love it.

Miles Ellison

@getthesenets Yes, there was. It wasn’t really that good, but it was much better than this.


@Troublemaker…you are asking all the right questions! What’s sad is when folks don’t know they’re being played.


Oh sh*t, how could we have been so shortsighted, Emily? All a show needs to get high ratings is the main characters have very successful careers and a huge fan base. WOW! REALLY? I don’t believe it’s that simple. And who were you calling the simpleton, Emily? Your comment has you positioned in first place.


I never watched the show when it aired but wasn’t there a show called "platinum" on upn in mid 90s about Black family running a record label?


Sergio Mims is the author of this blog and he is an African American with an opinion. I think the show is good and if the writers can continue to keep the plot interesting then this show should do well. As for why only 1% of the black population watches Fox News is because they are 100% Unfair and Bias rather than Fair and balanced as they claim to be


Simple minded fascist. In case you did not know, the main characters in the show have very successful careers and a huge fan base, so of course their show got high ratings. No intelligent individual watches or believes FOX "news".


"WTF is a journal organization that promotes the African diaspora doing shooting a black show that made tv history down? I thought diaspora was all about building and promoting".<– No-she-didn’t say or imply what I think she said?! I mean, that (we should uplift speech) may play well at a debutante ball, but not a film blog. This house is filled with mature adults who loves discussing movies; the good, the bad and the ugly. Consequently, to suggest that we should become the 3 Monkeys, See NO Evil, Hear NO Evil and Speak NO Evil, while discussing black films, is, well, it’s WTF-ish, okay. Seriously, what is there to gain and who wins if the moviegoer’s opinions are reduced to nothing but praise for the movie in question? Well, I do know such a limited discussion impedes growth. In short, Ms. Christine, the next time you think about posting a comment, pause, look around and practice what you preach. I mean, much of your comment was focused on shooting down a black man. Hmmmm, the pot sure has a lot of nerve.

Miles Ellison

I think you know the answer to those questions.


Empire is pure hoodrat garbage which will go downhill really quickly! Lee Daniels is nothing but a c00n who will do anything for a buck! Why did Lucious have to sell drugs at the age of 8 just to survive? Why did he have to use drug money to build his empire? Why did Cookie have to sell drugs and have a criminal record? Why can’t both Cookie & Luscious have MBAs and work they way up from the mailroom or as an assistant to owning their music label? Why does Luscious have to kill? Why can’t he negotiate without violence? Why does Cookie have to show up in h00chie mama clothes to formal events? For all those who are comparing this low class hoodrat ghetto show to Dallas and Dynasty? Show me the episode where JR sold drugs and kill someone with his bare hands? Show me the episode where Alexis Carrington sold drugs and went to prison? Show me a series where the lead is a black man or woman who have MBAs, are moguls and own their business without being married to white? Anyone?


@CY…thanks and your elaboration is on point!


These comment are ridiculous, except for "4K ratchet" – now that was spot on and hilarious. RATCHET CULTURE DOES NOT EQUAL BLACK CULTURE. They are not one and the same. The author of the article is Black, as am I, and just because something is "successful" does not mean it is "quality." Just because the creators are Black does not mean the content accurately reflects Black culture. And the reason "white media" does not take BLACK ANYTHING seriously is because of shows like Empire, music like Nicki Minaj’s, and the misguided Black people who either condone this material or are passive about it.

ALP again

A.T, it is indeed a show about black people having something: bad taste.


Empire is captivating because it depicts the finer things in life that everyone wish’s to aspire. It show’s economics and characters that you can relate to. A show that finally show black people having something.


I am so glad that so many people agree with my first reaction after reading this article. This honestly is one of the worst and most choppy articles I think I have ever read. Who comments in 2015 that the only reason why "we" black people must like the show is because they wear expensive clothes? And WTF is a journal organization that promotes the African diaspora doing shooting a black show that made tv history down? I thought diaspora was all about building and promoting. Such terrible writing. It’s almost as if he cut and pasted most of his article and then his editor told him it needed to have 200 more words to make the cut and he wrote a few of his own lines. Soooo choppy almost leaves the reader saying, huh?? Hey Sergio, research cut and paste ‘objective reporting’ and bigot. Try to leave wording that fall under these categories in your next article. Will never read another article from these guys again.

Dashonte Wilson III

Traci’s the kind of girl I talk to at the club. Awwww yeeeah. Bartender, slide this here cosmo on down to the white girl in the mini-dress and strappy stilettos. Come on over here, Traci. Girl, you ain’t nothin but biscuits and gravy, lookin all good and shyt. I love me some sexy liberal white girls. Let’s bounce back to my pad, baby. Long as you out by 5:30AM, we all good. I got "Empire" on the flat screen, Kente cloth bedsheets and a chilled bottle of Boo-jo-lay, lawd ham mercy. Deuces, yall. Me n Traci are OUT.

Guuuurl... No She Didn't Say That?!

Why is it that when whites post a comment, they tell us they’re white? And please "I havent seen much of a good "white" show in a very long time and most of the tv and movies that are good are those that are of a black majority!" . Now THAT was sickening!! And I’d wager that you have no clue of why – your comment is very sickening?


Whoever wrote this article should be ashamed of themselves for the racial commentary they felt they needed to input at the end of the article. I am white & I dont think that the viewers of this show, being white, black, hispanic or whatever they may be care that the network is what it is, its good tv and honestly I havent seen much of a good "white" show in a very long time, most of the tv and movies that are good are those that are of a black majority! I cant believe that in todays day we still see unequality and racist remarks like the writer of this article posted..very sickening!!


Yes. But this is a kick ass show with a talented black cast. That’s different.


Agreed, a sad group for sure. So so sad, don’t have a life so vicariously balling, bling-blinging, wearing expensive, shiny clothes and partying with the Empire crowd takes their boredom away. But I don’t understand why sarcasm eludes them?

Baby Geee

What I been saying for years…audiences need diversity.


No reaponse to your black people in expensive clothes comment, but you’d be surprised by how many non-
blacks are watching Empire.


Just a sad, pathetic group of losers who don’t have a life.


Three reasons Empire pulls in viewers: 1. Better than Reality television shows 2. Has a good relatable plot to incude Gen X 3. Millions of television viewers threw in the towel on cable or satellite contracts and opted for free digital television which means it’s the only good show on free tv chann.


Such ignorance in this article.


Hey Derrick, do you know what you can do? Blow it out your… your brain’s air funnel. listen folks, granted, all opinions are welcomed and needed. However, as much as some of the unjustified attacks on Sergio does not set well with me, I am more disappointed with some of S&A’s regular readers, than the little kids throwing nasty shade on a S&A staff writer. Look, this is "our" house and Sergio is a member of this family. So why do we sit idly by while someone attacks one of ours? Don’t get me wrong, I am not suggesting a retaliation on the order of the "Charlie Hebdo" incident. Oh no, but I believe Mr. Mims needs to know we have his back. Granted, his tongue & cheek writing style which leans heavily on cynicism, is not everyone’s cup of tea, however, for those who have enjoyed his no-holds-barred style of commentary, lets speak-up in support of the man who HAS given us countless laughs and priceless information on the black cinema. In short, are we going to stand as one and speak our displeasure when something like the following lands on our doorstep –>" It’s only a blog that probably only you and I have read".


Shelby, lighten up. It’s only a blog that probably only you and I have read. Sergio, your demographic information is clearly skewered if you truly think ONLY blacks watch this show. If you don’t like it, don’t watch it. Why even write about it unless some poor idiot editor is paying you to come up with such mindless dribble. In which case, carry on. Maybe some day after you’ve collected enough pennies you too can be like those blacks on TV with expensive cars and "shiny" clothes on "shiny" sets (yes, your vocabulary is clearly limited). But, good luck!


This show is captivating to say the least. Perhaps Shelby was on to something it’s the soap opera from the past thirty years but on steroids as Jamal said. This show done with quality without all the tired white folks running around sleeping with each other. This show has heavy hitters like Terrence & Taraji and the cast keep getting better enter Cuba Gooding damn. Did you’ll hear Keeps n I do mean keeps getting BETTER!


@Jasmine, "Journalist"? Honey, first time visitor, huh? Anywho, didn’t you read Film Griot’s comment ^above^? A show written and produced by who? Read it there you’ll find it fair. The actors are just paid servants, so to speak.


The show is successful because it has a talented cast that actually knows how to act and portrays what might be seen as caricatures in a complex and real manner. It is successful because it speaks to a voiceless demographic and it gives representation to those that barely have any. It is successful because the writers treat the characters and story lines with care and actually give a damn about continuity and can address things that are not often addressed regarding the black community such as homophobia and mental illness in a real to life manner. Maybe if you actually watched the show instead of writing it off because of soap opera comparisons and flashy clothes you would know this. Also this article makes it even more clear that there needs to be a more representation for people of color on television because a journalist is so baffled by a show written, produced, and starring black Americans that they lose all sense of professionalism and make back handed complements and give false pats on the back to a show that has plenty of reasons to have the success that it has earned. Every time a person of color achieves success it is questioned. It is made into a huge deal. It said to be an anomaly when in all actuality the anomaly is in actually hearing about these successes because the media and this society only portrays people of color in a certain (mostly negative) light, including FOX news. It is biased and that is why I don’t watch it. The real question is why do you feel the need to belittle the success of a show simply because of your personal taste or views on the matter. Obviously there is something there if people are tuning in to see it every week. And whether you pinpoint the reason behind the success it will continue so go sit in a corner and scratch your head some more and spare us from writing any more articles.


if terrence howard had more bass in his voice and less konk on his head i might be able to stomach the show


Don’t be baffled watch the show. Each storyline is complex and fraught with personal, professional and emotional obstacles to overcome. It is family oriented, which we like, and it has several moral dilemmas that connect to American culture. It deals with cancer, the bottom to the top American Dream, determination and ambition, a fathers desire to choose the right son to inherit his throne, old wife vs new, class vs. hood, drama, etc and great actors like Terrence Howard to watch them masterfully execute their characters.


There’s nothing wrong with this opinion. I think it’s important to note that Fox does have a hand in this show as well as promotes a very racist news show. What’s wrong with pointing that out? Also, Empire is really good, but it would be great to see a balanced atmosphere of positive black images as well. That’s all.


Stupid article!


Me oh my, what has happened to S&A? This once was a place African Americans begging for quality entertainment, with African American stars. But now, when Sergio and BLACKFILM GRIOT attempted to shine a focus on what some are cheering for (i.e. who’s making the money and at whose expense) the newbie readers seem to have lost their way. Excuse me, but what… "this article is disgusting"?? and "Please do us a favor and pick another profession"??? Why, because he’s telling the truth? Listen, Lee Daniels is GETTING PAID to serve this… ah, this style of entertainment, by a few smart white businessmen who love exploiting negative black stereotypes. Yet, some of you don’t see it or refuse to admit "it"… that you’re being used. But Sergio, don’t despair, keep knocking, some might wake up.


This "article" is disgusting. Not only is it insulting, but it also lacks wit. If you’re going to be a brat, at least be a smart and interesting one.

Miles Ellison

Calling this quality television is quite a stretch. Howard and Henson were better in Hustle and Flow. This isn’t even a good soap opera. It’s stereotypical Cribs-level MTV porn.


"IT can either get better or get worse." Well, we have not seen nothing yet. I am suggesting your blues ain’t like mine. And, "better" at what? Well, if one loves ghetto ratchetness wrapped in big name stars (as Sergio rightfully pointed out) along with homoes getting it on — on prime time TV — shiiiiit, the gates are wide open now, so it’s definitely gonna get "better". More blacks on more channels – doing more fked-up sh*t. Come on now, follow me… Haves and Have Nots… How To Get Away With Murder-Empire-Scandal… **TOOT-TOOT** the train is rolling down the tracks… "ALL ABOARD!"… "next stop… HELL! That’s right, I can hear that old school song "Ain’t No Stoppin’ Us Now." It’s gonna get better.


I would like to say first everyone is entitled to their own opinion. This show is a soap opera. In the same vein as Dynasty, Knots Landing, and Desperate Housewives. I have to say I am loving it!


One thing I have to say about the music – I cannot believe how much I am enjoying the music on this show. The songs featured here (and on POWER as well) have been more enjoyable than the music that’s been on radio for the last 5 years. But back to show itself – Were Dynasty and Dallas considered well-written high quality dramas? This show is something is something else – too much sometimes. But I can’t tear my eyes away from the screen.


Ser gi 0! Ser GI O!! SERGIO!!!


Now is this show as well written and produced as BREAKING BAD, THE WIRE< THE SOPRANOS, SCANDAL< HTGAWM???? Hell no! It’s very cliche’ on every level- but it just started and it will get better with time. And to answer your bafflement SERGIO. Black People and others are watching because this thing is a bit of a Unicorn, we’ve never seen a Primetime Black Soap on a Network ACTUALLY work before. Let’s all give it time; IT can either get better or get worse. But let’s celebrate That we will at least have another season to figure all of that out.


The show was created by Danny Strong (A White Man) The Head Writer and showrunner Illene Chaiken(famous for The L Word) is also White. The Executive Producers are Brian Grazier & Ron Howard (also White) Lee Daniels assisted Danny Strong in converting what was a Feature Film Concept into a TV Show.




SHELBY & TSTORMVA: Please go back: Hop off The African-American Soapbox for a second and Reread what SERGIO wrote – and SERGIO don’t be so sensitive. His Comment aren’t a backhanded compliment all he’s saying is YES the show is doing well and HE DOESN’T understand why because there is nothing NEW HERE in terms of plot story or structure. Wether Sergio is Black or White has nothing to do with his ability to comment.


A lot of the modern tv shows catering to Black audiences are essentially soap operas or "stories" as my sisters called them.The reality shows especially are soap operas. Black people getting their "Dynasty" on…Black women getting their "Susan Lucci"/"Joan Collins" on..powerful people in shiny clothes, late model cars, this season’s high end purse/shoes… almost can’t lose with this recipe regardless of what the plot or story is.


I’m sorry you have to experience such harsh criticism Sergio for simply voicing your opinion. I absolutely agree with you 100%. I too am baffled as to why the show has become so popular with its old, tired clichés…I’m happy though to see so many people of color getting work.

Bklyn Negress

Empire is far from quality tv but people watch for the same reasons they watch The Bachelor or Honey Boo Boo today or Dynasty or Knots Landing back in the day which is America likes trashy escapism entertainment. The trasher the better. This isn’t a judgment just what I believe to be so.


What ignorant fool wrote this article? Empire has been a huge rating success and what do you do…give a back-handed compliment. This was truly insulting to Lee Danial and the talented class. This article reminds me of the NY Times "Angry Black Women" article. Please do us a favor and pick another profession.


And I would really like to know is Shelby is as clueless as he or she sounds. And if you think Empire represents "quality television’ as you call it then i guess you are that clueless.


I’d really like to know if the person that wrote this article is black or white because I feel like you have to be white to write something this ignorant. Of course Fox News only has white correspondents and is the most biased news station in America. It doesn’t matter what station Empire is on, the creator, writer, and executive producer of the show is still black. The show is successful because it’s quality television. If you know enough about the soap operas from the past 30 years to make that statement then I need you to broaden your television horizon.


4K Ratchet

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