UPDATE: “Empire” debuted in September with 6 million viewers, which turned into 8.26 million including DVR watchers. Twelve episodes later, they’re down to 3.97 million viewers for this week’s episode. More than two million have left, most of them since the Jussie Smollett scandal.
Wednesday night’s episode of “Empire” on Fox continued to be a ratings disaster. The show scored just 3.968 million viewers, the lowest number ever.
This comes after last week’s episode fell to 3.982 million, at that time the lowest rating for the show.
All of this is a result of actor Jussie Smollett’s bizarre exoneration in Chicago, where he was charged with 16 counts of disorderly conduct in his faked racial attack.
Smollett walking away from the Chicago scandal a free man– and considering suing the Chicago PD– has sparked outrage everywhere. Smollett topped the news for two weeks after claiming to have been attacked by two men who used racial and anti-gay epithets, wore MAGA hats, and put a noose around his neck.
It turned out that Smollett had faked the whole thing because he was angry about his $100,000 a week salary on “Empire.” He also sent himself a threatening “ransom” note at the studio.
But on Monday Chicago authorities dropped all the charges, wiped his slate clean, and sealed his case. Now everyone, starting with Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, wants to know what really happened.
Fox TV (now Disney) hasn’t said yet whether “Empire” is renewed for another season, or if Smollett will still be on the show.