Empire’s incredible rise to the top of the Nielsen chart continues. Wednesday night’s episode grew yet again, while ABC’s promising new comedy Fresh Off the Boat had an impressive start.
First: Empire’s ratings are defying every usual freshman drama trend for a serialized broadcast show. Last night had 11.5 million viewers and a 4.6 rating among adults 18-49. Empire is up 53 percent from its American Idol lead-in, and just keeps on growing. Where’s the top?
Also, and this is just as significant: ABC’s Fresh Off the Boat – the first Asian-American broadcast comedy in a couple decades – had a very solid debut: 7.9 million viewers and a 2.4 rating at 8:30 p.m., then another 7.6 million viewers and a 2.4 rating at 9:30 p.m.
Let’s run this down: Empire is broadcast’s highest-rated drama series in the demo (if you exclude that post-Super Bowl special episode of NBC’s The Blacklist) and the second is ABC’s Scandal. The second-biggest new drama of the season is ABC’s How to Get Away with Murder. On the comedy side, the season’s highest-rated new sitcom is ABC’s Black-ish followed by, now, Fresh Off the Boat. Nobody working in network series development can possibly miss the significance of an unprecidented number of shows with diverse leads dominating the freshman crop of an otherwise dour season. After this year, broadcast TV will almost certainly never look the same.