It's common for shows to lose some ratings momentum over time, and even big hits like The Walking Dead and Empire haven't been immune to changes in the numbers. This season, Empire has dropped quite a bit---especially in Live+same day viewership and recent episodes have only seen a little bit over seven million total viewers tuning in on the night the episode airs. Recently, Empire executive producer Sanaa Hamri was asked about the ratings drops, and her answer was a pretty good one.
We never like taking breaks because we love our show and we want our show on all the time which is just not realistic. But also, things are different now. It's not about overnights, we're not sitting there counting numbers. I mean, people take their time to watch shows in general so the break is a time for everybody to brush up on their episodes, maybe re-watch them before we come back on again. You have many ways and platforms, whether it's online or streaming and then also on demand, so to me it's a time to kind of brush up on the show and on the story.
If there's one thing I know about fans of television, it's that they hate breaks. Sometimes viewers will even drop or forget about shows if they disappear for a time.That's why in recent years, the major networks have striven to kick off fall and midseason television earlier in September and January respectively. There's more TV programming hitting the schedule during the summer, as well. But Fox has Empire off of the schedule for three months, until March, and it's rare for someone involved with a show to acknowledge that there may be a problem with the particular schedule they've been given. That's exactly what happened when Sanaa Hamri spoke with THR recently, however.
The other point about this that is very true is that a lot of shows are seeing their ratings droop as more and more viewers subscribe to and use DVR. Live+7 day ratings help the major networks to get a clearer picture of who is watching and how they are watching, but the con---at least for the networks---of DVR is that anyone can skip through commercials and move on with their day. Commercials are what makes the wheel turn at the networks as they are a major way that the networks are able to make money.
Empire's ratings are a big deal because the Fox series saw such unprecedented success when it first hit the airwaves. During its first season, the show increased in the ratings every week, including the massive finale which saw 17.6 million total viewers tune in---and yes, we're talking the night of. Season 2 dropped in comparison, although the premiere was also quite high that season. During Season 3, overall viewership was way down from Season 2 and especially the such great heights of Season 1 accomplished.
Still, it should definitely be noted that Empire does well with the coveted advertising demographic, and that even with lower viewership, the show just did a 2.7 rating this week during its fall finale. It should also be noted that even if Empire is dropping in the ratings, it is still doing a heck of a lot better in general than a good chunk of the other shows network TV puts out each week.
Empire will return to Fox on March 22 at 9 p.m. To find out when the rest of your favorite shows are returning, check out our midseason TV premiere schedule.