‘Empire’ produces the largest ever Black audience for a prime time TV series at 71%

New Pittsburgh Courier

In this image released by Fox, Jussie Smollett, left, and Terrence Howard appear in a scene from the season one finale of "Empire." With a standard-setting finale to its first season reaching 17.6 million viewers, Fox’s music business drama “Empire” has proven that it’s still possible for broadcast television to create big hits. The Nielsen company said that’s how many people watched the second of two “Empire” episodes to air Wednesday night. The first hour was seen by 15.8 million people. It represented most the popular finale for a television drama’s first season since ABC’s “Grey’s Anatomy” in 2005, (AP Photo/FOX, Chuck Hodes) In this image released by Fox, Jussie Smollett, left, and Terrence Howard appear in a scene from the season one finale of “Empire.”  (AP Photo/FOX, Chuck Hodes)

(March 24, 2015) What may be most remarkable — and unspoken — about the historic first season of Fox’s “Empire” is that if  not a single White viewer had ever tuned in, the show’s Black audience alone would have ranked it as last week’s No.6 show in the nation. Total White viewership for the hip-hop drama never exceeded 39% for any episode, and dropped to 29% for the record-breaking finale.

The point is, in a year when “How To Get Away With Murder” and “Black-ish” joined “Scandal” in changing the calculus for winning TV shows, “Empire” stood alone as having the ability to be No.1 by appealing to an overwhelmingly African-American following. Without a doubt, every network will be trying to duplicate its…

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