Fox's hip-hop centered show Empire took American audiences by storm with its first season. Each new episode managed to climb in ratings, viewers and critics alike began to wonder if the show would ever slow down. The shows season one finale, was viewed by over 17 million viewers, devouring the adult 18 to 49 demographic and earning a rating share of 6.9/21, astounding for a premiere show.
The flamboyant musical, starring Hollywood journeyman Terrence Howard and America's favorite bitch, Taraji P. Henson became an overnight success despite speculation it received at its launch.
At season ones end, Empire went on to be nominated for three Primetime Emmy Awards for best lead actress, and outstanding costumes for a contemporary series. Although the show came up just short, it did receive the prestigious award of Program Of The Year from the Television Critics Association. Star Taraji P. Henson even took home the Critics' Choice Award for best actress in a drama series.
After its blockbuster rise critics and fans predicted the show to go to even higher heights with its second season, continuing its dominance, and yet here we are.
Nielsen ratings has reported a consecutive three week decline for Empire. A polar opposite to the shows first season that only gained steam after each episode. Some critics are seeing it as a cause for concern for the relatively new series, considering its epic first season.
Should a show with this much recognition and popularity be experiencing a decline so soon?
Not A Cause For Concern
Nielsen ratings also show that Empire is still among the top ten Primetime Network shows. It currently sits at Number 8 with a 7.7 rating and a following of over 13 million.
USA Today reports Empire is currently ranked third among scripted shows and has the top spot in the category of scripted shows for young adults. The show is also seeing a consistent following among streaming services like Hulu.
So What's Happening?
With a show having such a meteoric rise to fame in such a short amount of time, any dip or cause for concern is going to be looked at as a failure, but it is actually quite the contrary.
The Newlywed Effect
Part of the reason the show was as successful as it was, can be attributed to what I like to call the 'Newlywed Effect'. Everyone wants to see what the new hip show is all about, so more audiences tune in to stay ahead of the loop. Similar to how everyone wants to meet the newlyweds, but after a few months they're just another married couple that only their loved ones truly care about.
This decline that Fox's darling is experiencing is nothing more than a weeding out of general watchers looking to be stimulated. Now that Empire has found its voice and tone, it can attend to its niche audience. The show can now continue to grow from within, without the glaring lights of a brand new series.
Creator and producer Lee Daniels can now begin to experiment with the elements of the series just like any new television show would do in its beginning seasons. Seeing what works and what doesn't, testing cast members, bringing in new ones, all of these things are typical for new TV shows seeking longevity and relevance, but it is NOT a cause for concern.
Fans should expect the show to change as time goes on but it will be for the better.
So fret not Empire fans Cookie, Luscious, and the Lyon Dynasty are here to stay!