“Empire” returned from winter hiatus on Wednesday, airing its first original episode since star Jussie Smollett was arrested and charged with filing a false police report. It didn’t receive a warm welcome from viewers.
Last night’s 8 p.m. episode settled for a 1.3 demo rating/6 share among adults 18-49, and 4.412 million total viewers — those Nielsen numbers are way down from last year’s comparable hour and are even down double digits versus the hip-hop soap opera’s fall finale.
The previous original “Empire” episode on Dec. 5 had a 1.5 rating and 5.043 million total viewers. Last year’s midseason return put up a 2.0 rating and tallied 6.217 million viewers.
Wednesday’s hour was down 13 percent in both the demo and for the overall audience versus the fall finale, and down 35 percent in the demo and 29 percent in viewers from last year’s midseason premiere episode.
As a matter of fact, last night’s “Empire” drew the second-smallest audience and second-worst demo rating ever for “Empire.”
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