Home Television TV: “Empire” Returns to Lower Ratings After Jussie Smollett Scandal: Can it...

“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.

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