Sunday, May 26, 2024

Tuesday TV Ratings: “Empire” Drops Again, as Fans Turn Away, Tune Out, Just 2.8 Mil Now, 17 Mil Four Years Ago


“Empire” is not going out in style. The once hot-as-a-pistol show dropped again to its lowest ratings ever.

Tuesday’s night audience was down to 2,793,000 from 2,941,000 in week 2. Week one was just above 3 million.

Did Jussie Smollett carry that much audience? Or are the viewers just turned off by everything that happened with his scandal? Whatever it is, they are gone. Smollett took them with him when he became embroiled in his scandal last spring. His reporting of a mugging, with racial and homophobic overtones, turned into an international cause celebre when it couldn’t be corroborated. Smollett may have invented the whole thing because he wanted a higher salary. The whole thing ended with a question mark, and Smollett’s career in flames.

Believe it or not, “Empire” hit 17.65 million viewers on March 18, 2015. It was the season 1 cliffhanger. Since then, episode by episode, the numbers just drained slowly.

At the time “Empire” was renewed for its sixth and final season, Fox TV said: “We’re turning the final season of Empire into a large television event. We are going out guns-a-blazing. Six years is a pretty remarkable run for a drama series.” But it’s going out with a whimper at this point. Gun control has set in.

When it’s over, Taraji P. Henson can return to her film career or star in another series. Terrence Howard says he’s done, but who knows with him? He’d be imprudent to squander his career right now. Gaboure Sidibe was already famous from “Precious” before “Empire” started thanks to Lee Daniels, who directed that movie and created this show.

As for Daniels, time to get back to movies. He’s needed in that space more than in this one.

Meanwhile, “NCIS” dipped below 12 million to its lowest rating in some time. Ziva– Cote de Pablo– was not on this episode, which aired while a lot of viewers may have been at Kol Nidre services for Yom Kippur. Maybe that’s where Ziva — who’s Jewish in the show– was too.


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.

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