Empire Ratings Are Here—Is This Fox's New Savior?

Fox's buzzy new drama built on American Idol's audience in the coveted demographic

By Chris Harnick Jan 08, 2015 4:38 PMTags
EmpireChuck Hodes/FOX

The force is strong with Fox's Empire. The series premiere of the buzzy hip-hop drama from Lee Daniels and Danny Strong starring Terence Howard and Taraji P. Henson—slay, Cookie!—had 9.9 million viewers and a 3.8 rating in the coveted 18-49 demographic. The show lost some of American Idol's audience, but it built on Idol's demo rating, an impressive feat.

American Idol returned for season 14 with 11.2million viewers, down from 15ish million it had in its season 13 premiere. In the 18-49 demo, the season 14 premiere netted a 3.2 rating. Idol was up from the season 13 finale, which tumbled to 10.5 million and a 2.6 rating. A far cry from Idol's heyday, but 14 seasons in the show is still a player.

This is good news for Fox. The network struggled to launch a hit—aside from Gotham—during the 204 season. Empire even outpaced Modern Family in the 18-49 demographic. The veteran comedy grabbed a 3.2 rating.

The Mentalist on CBS had about 9 million viewers and a 1.3 rating and the People's Choice Awards, which honored the likes of Betty White, Chris Evans and Viola Davis, followed with 8.6 million viewers and a 1.8 rating, down from last year. On NBC, The Mysteries of Laura had 6.8 million viewers and a 1.3 rating. Law & Order: SVU returned to 7.8 million and a 1.7 rating and Chicago PD held on with 7.4 million viewers and a 1.6 rating. ABC's comedy lineup was solid. The Middle had 8.5 million viewers and a 2.3 rating, The Goldbergs followed with 7.8 million and a 2.5 rating. Modern Family had 9.2 million viewers and the 3.2 rating and black-ish dipped to 6.3 million viewers and a 2.1 rating in the coveted demo. The CW aired reruns.

And now all eyes will be on Empire's performance next week.