Fox’s “Empire” Draws Largest Audience Yet in 4th Week, Dominates Wednesday

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There appears to be no slowing down Fox drama “Empire,” which drew its largest overall audience yet on Wednesday and again stood as the night’s dominant program in all key demographics. This week, it built by its biggest demo margins to date on its winning “American Idol” lead-in while pulling ahead of the reality show in total viewers for the first time.

According to preliminary national estimates from Nielsen, “Empire” averaged a 4.3 rating/12 share in adults 18-49 and 11.3 million viewers overall — just about on par with last week’s series high in the demo and gaining about 250,000 total viewers to hit a high by that measure. After premiering with about 9.9 million viewers on Jan. 7, “Empire” has grown to 10.3 million, 11.0 million and now 11.3 million week to week.

It has also grown with each week in adults 18-34 rating, premiering to a 2.9 and rising to a 3.4, 3.6 and to a 3.9 last night.

The show continues to generate a young, diverse audience, averaging a whopping 60 share among African-Americans heading into last night and standing as the season’s No. 1 program among blacks in adults 18-49, 25-54 and 18-34. But it’s also the No. 1 new series and broadcast drama among English-speaking Hispanic adults under 50.

And though it does very well with women, it’s also the No. 2 new series of the season in men 18-49 and men 18-34 (behind only the network’s “Gotham”).

In multi-platform viewing, the premiere of “Empire” has attracted 20.4 million viewers (more than double the 9.9 million for its its same-day delivery) in just 15 days. In back-to-back weeks, it held the No. 1 position in Xfinity’s on-demand rankings, according to Comcast, the nation’s largest pay-TV distributor.

Last night’s “Empire” built on its “American Idol” lead-in by a best yet 54% in 18-49 (4.3 vs. 2.8) as the music contest delivered its lowest Wednesday score of the season but still remained in control of its 8 p.m. timeslot. And for the first time, “Empire” also outdrew “Idol” in total viewers (11.3 million to 11.0 million in the prelims).

Elsewhere, CBS ran second behind original episodes of its crime dramas “The Mentalist” (1.3/4 in 18-49, 9.1 million viewers overall), “Criminal Minds” (2.1/6 in 18-49, 10.6 million viewers overall) and “Stalker” (1.6/5 in 18-49, 8.4 million viewers overall). “Mentalist,” nearing the end of its run, was down 0.2 from last week, while “Criminal Minds” was up a tick but still was able to draw only about half as many young adults as timeslot competitor “Empire.” At 10 p.m., “Stalker” was up a tick from last week as it went up against repeats on both ABC and NBC.

The Alphabet aired repeats of its comedies “The Middle” (1.3/4 in 18-49, 5.6 million viewers overall), “The Goldbergs” (1.3/4 in 18-49, 4.7 million viewers overall), “Modern Family” (1.5/4 in 18-49, 5.3 million viewers overall) and “Black-ish” (1.2/3 in 18-49, 3.9 million viewers overall), all of which return with original episodes next week. Special repeats of “Black-ish” aired last night at 10 (1.1/3 in 18-49, 3.4 million viewers overall) and 10:30 (0.9/3 in 18-49, 3.0 million viewers overall) one week from the return of “Nashville.”

NBC aired encores of its cop dramas “The Mysteries of Laura” (0.7/2 in 18-49, 9.1 million viewers overall), “Law & Order: SVU” (0.7/2 in 18-49, 3.6 million viewers overall) and “Chicago PD” (0.6/2 in 18-49, 4.1 million viewers overall).

And at CW, “Arrow” (1.1/3 in 18-49, 2.9 million viewers overall) matched last week’s score, which is the best the show has done this season with the exception of its crossover-storyline episode with “The Flash.” Closing out the night, “The 100″ (0.6/2 in 18-49, 1.6 million viewers overall) was up a tenth from last week to match its season high.

article by Rick Kissell via Variety.com

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