Fox’s Empire was on fire when it premiered in January, but no one expected the hip-hop drama would get this hot. Pulling in a whopping 16.5 million viewers for its Wednesday finale, Empire is an absolute inferno.
Starring Taraji P. Henson and Terrence Howard, the last episode of the season held on to its winning streak. For 10 consecutive weeks, Empire‘s audience kept swelling with its two-hour season finale pulling in its biggest numbers yet, an 11 percent increase from last week’s 14.7 million, CNN Money reports.
For a little perspective, Empire’s pilot — which launched with a bang with V Bozeman harmonizing What is Love? — pulled in 10.7 million viewers. Over just a couple of weeks, Empire added almost seven million sets of eyes to its viewership, thanks to a loyal Black audience.
“According to Nielsen, 61 percent of the show’s audience is African American — another astonishing feat that no other prime time series has been able to match,” CNN Money added.
The site called Empire’s run on Fox “truly remarkable.”
The social media chatter about Empire‘s season finale is also noteworthy: 2.4 million tweets and 15.8 million likes, comments and shares on Facebook during the two-hour episode.
Empire, filled with rich, emotive music produced by Timbaland, also has the potential to make big bucks from iTunes sales. “Conqueror,” featuring Estelle and Jussie Smollet, climbed to No.4 on the iTunes single sales chart. “Conqueror” was only surpassed by Kanye West’s “All Day,” Mark Ronson’s “Uptown Funk” and Ellie Goulding’s “Love Me Like You Do,” according to Headline Planet.
But of course, as one might expect, increased recognition comes with an onslaught of criticism and commentary. One critic, according to NPR, called Empire a “ghetto-fied hood drama” and refused to support the show. Another asked, “Do we need to go back to the times when ‘pimps, whores, drug dealers and gangsters’ were glorified?”
NPR’s Eric Deggans disagrees: ” I think these critics are off base. Empire is much more than a collection of horrifying black stereotypes, and it moves further away from such narrow characterizations.”
Well, whether you like it or not, Empire is coming back for season two.
What do you think about the show?