You have to go back to Roseanne in 1992 to find the last time a new show rose in the ratings each week for its first five episodes. Hip hop drama Empire has already beaten that milestone and is still putting on viewers in key demographics.
The Fox show – which stars Terence Howard and Taraji P. Henson – is bucking the usual TV trend for network shows that usually win big audiences for the super-hyped first episode only for a big drop for the second and a leveling out as the series goes on.
In this case, Empire drew 9.9 million viewers for the first show on January 7, rising slowly to 12.9 million viewers for Wednesday’s Episode 7.That means the ratings have risen for six consecutive episodes since the premiere.
With DVR viewers factored in the ratings total about 15 million, making it one of the top shows on TV, says The Guardian.
The rise of Empire is unprecedented, adds Entertainment Weekly.
The show centers around a hip hop music and entertainment company, Empire Enterprises, and the drama among the members of the founders’ family as they fight for control of the firm.
Analysts credit the show’s primarily African American audience, of which 42% still watch live TV and the widespread use of Twitter to boost viewership.
Last week’s Empire episode inspired more than 366,000 tweets while it was airing, more than any other show on the networks or cable.
Courtney Love and Naomi Campbell give the show an added boost with recurring character roles as a drug-addicted former singer and a cougar preying on younger men.
Catch up with Episode 7 here.