‘Empire’ Ratings Return Down In Wake Of Jussie Smollett Scandal
Unsurprisingly and as many expected, FOX series Empire returned from a three-month hiatus to a significant drop in the ratings.
With all of the drama surrounding cast member Jussie Smollett, many industry insiders suspected that the show would face the burden of the legal issues surrounding him—and they were right. Ratings were down significantly from the March 13th episode in comparison to the last new episode that aired back in December.
Empire is the highest rated show on Wednesday nights and the second highest rated show on FOX, just behind the Angela Bassett-led series 9-1-1. However, the intense scrutiny and negative attention surrounding series star Jussie Smollett, following his alleged hate crime attack and 16-count felony indictment, is already negatively impacting the show, specifically its ratings.
According to reports, Empire’s spring premiere drew 4.4 million viewers and a 1.3 rating in adults 18-49, which is down over 10% in ratings since the fall finale episode in December. Fortunately, Empire still placed second overall in the Wednesday night primetime ratings, so perhaps things will pick up in the coming weeks.
As for Smollett, he had his first arraignment since being indicted on 16 felony counts for faking a hate crime and filing a false police report, where he officially pleaded not guilty.
Empire exes are also reportedly deciding what to do about Smollett’s character Jamal, after previously writing him out of the final two episodes of the season. Rumors are swirling that the character could be killed off or recast, given Smollett’s offscreen drama.
Did you watch Empire’s latest episode? Are you surprised the ratings have dropped? Let us know in the comments