Well I didn’t see this coming. Fox megahit Empire’s numbers took a serious plunge this week.
The week of Thanksgiving is always a rough one for television programming. However, if a show has a strong enough following, it can spare itself from the dismal ratings of its competitors. While Empire has had titan-esque ratings in the past, it seemed to fall victim to the Thanksgiving week curse.
TV Line has reported that Empire hit a series low on Wednesday night, raking in 9.1 million views for the episode “Sinned Against”. While these numbers don’t seem especially tragic, this proved to be up to 30% lower than the previous week’s episode.
Despite boasting a guest appearance by Rosie O’Donnell as a figure from Cookie’s prison past, it seems that the big travel day (as well as busiest bar night of the year) skewered the normally glorious ratings of Empire.
Premiering on January 7th 2015, Empire revolves around a hip-hop music company, Empire Entertainment, and the family who created it. While exploring personal relationships between the Lyon family, members of the clan also fight for control of the (wait for it…) empire.
Empire boasts a captivating cast of scheming characters. The first season proved to be a star-making moment for actress Taraji P. Henson who stars as the scene-stealing matriarch of the family, Cookie Lyon.
In addition to captivating drama and kidnapping cliffhangers, Empire also has the added bonus of original music created for the series. The soundtrack for the show has done rather well, with the music being a common plotline throughout the series. Additionally, music industry figures have often made guest appearances, whether as themselves or an original character, including roles by Alicia Keys, Snoop Dogg and Mary J. Blige, among many others.
With last week’s episode resulting in such a sharp decline of ratings, I can only assume that the viewership failure will be an isolated incident for Empire. Afterall, the premiere episode of Empire was the most viewed program on Fox in three years. Ratings, up to this point, had been steadily growing throughout the course of the first and second seasons. To hammer the point home, the second season premiere had twice the amount of viewers as the series premiere. That’s gold record status.
It should be interesting to see exactly how Empire attempts to come back from this loss. It’s possible that the series low ratings from last week’s episode have awoken a sleeping Lyon, with the possibility of aggressive marketing and advertisements coming up this week to re-engage their audience. Or Fox is confident enough that the post-Thanksgiving episode will find Empire returning to its normally high ranking, and it will simply let the season repair itself organically.
What will it be Fox? Use some muscle, or let the Lyon's sleep tonight?