Taraji P. Henson, Empire

Chuck Hodes/FOX

Empire went out with a bang. And we don't mean gunshots, although those were there too. The season one finale of Fox's Empire had an early overnight audience of 16.5 million viewers. In the key 18-49 demographic the freshman drama had a 6.4 rating. These numbers will likely go up when final numbers hit later today. And even more when DVR footage is factored in.

Big. Huge. Crazy.

In the 9-10 p.m. hour, Empire had a 6.8 rating and 17.5 million viewers.

Empire has gone up in the ratings every single week it has been on the air, breaking records and slaying the competition easily. It's a success story plain and simple. The primetime soap—that's basically what it is!—series hails from Lee Daniels and Danny Strong and stars Taraji P. Henson and Terrence Howard.

Will Empire be able to continue to grow or maintain the huge numbers? We'll have to wait and see. The show has been renewed for a second season, but there's no word on whether Fox will hold it for midseason again or push it for the fall. Given its success, expect a fall bow, but you never know.

What happened in the big finale? Oh there was a death, a baby reveal and an arrest. Plus Patti LaBelle, Rita Ora, Jennifer Hudson and Snoop Dogg! Check out our recap for more on what happened. Obvious spoiler warning!

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