Sunday, May 26, 2024

TV: “Empire” Returns to Lower Ratings After Jussie Smollett Scandal: Can it Recover or Is This the End?


“Empire” returned to TV last night after a break that started in mid December. The last two episodes each scored 5 million viewers.

But a lot has changed since then. A star of the show,  Jussie Smollett, today entered a plea of not guilty to 16 counts of disorderly conduct and lying to the police. His scandal went on for weeks, and has damged “Empire” in the process.

The result is that last night “Empire” returned to 4.4 million viewers. That’s down 12% but also their second to worst outing of this season. On Halloween, “Empire” had 4.23 million.

“Empire” was already showing signs of wear and tear, but Smollett’s saga may be the nail in the coffin. If this is the beginning of a trend, watch Fox announce a short final season for next year.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

Read more

In Other News