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In this image released by Fox, Jussie Smollett, left, and Terrence Howard appear in a scene from the season one finale of "Empire." With a standard-setting finale to its first season reaching 17.6 million viewers, Fox’s music business drama “Empire” has proven that it’s still possible for broadcast television to create big hits. The Nielsen company said that’s how many people watched the second of two “Empire” episodes to air Wednesday night. The first hour was seen by 15.8 million people. It represented most the popular finale for a television drama’s first season since ABC’s “Grey’s Anatomy” in 2005, (AP Photo/FOX, Chuck Hodes)

In this image released by Fox, Jussie Smollett, left, and Terrence Howard appear in a scene from the season one finale of “Empire.”  (AP Photo/FOX, Chuck Hodes)

(March 24, 2015) What may be most remarkable — and unspoken — about the historic first season of Fox’s “Empire” is that if  not a single White viewer had ever tuned in, the show’s Black audience alone would have ranked it as last week’s No.6 show in the nation. Total White viewership for the hip-hop drama never exceeded 39% for any episode, and dropped to 29% for the record-breaking finale.

The point is, in a year when “How To Get Away With Murder” and “Black-ish” joined “Scandal” in changing the calculus for winning TV shows, “Empire” stood alone as having the ability to be No.1 by appealing to an overwhelmingly African-American following. Without a doubt, every network will be trying to duplicate its success.

With the “Empire” finale and a special, Fox was the obvious choice for the week’s most watched TV network in Black households, with a total of 24 million across just two shows. CBS was second with 11.3 million for 12 programs. ABC took third, claiming 9.9 million for seven shows.

The total number of viewers for the Top 25 TV shows in Black homes, according to Nielsen, was up 22 percent from the previous week (thanks to “Empire”) to 48.7 million.

EMPIRE: Cookie (Taraji P. Henson) demands attention in the "False Imposition" episode of EMPIRE which aired Jan. 28 on FOX. ©2014 Fox Broadcasting Co. CR: Chuck Hodes/FOX

EMPIRE: Cookie (Taraji P. Henson) demands attention in the “False Imposition” episode of EMPIRE which aired Jan. 28 on FOX. ©2014 Fox Broadcasting Co. CR: Chuck Hodes/FOX

Black TV Ratings for Week of March 16 – 22

Top 25 Broadcast TV Shows in Black Households

Rank | Program | Network | % of AA Homes | % of AA P2+ | No. of Viewers (000)

1 EMPIRE FOX 50.3 31.1 12,127
2 EMPIRE-SP 3/18 8P FOX 45.9 27.0 10,550
3 SCANDAL ABC 14.8 7.2 2,803
4 AMERICAN CRIME ABC 8.7 4.2 1,629
5 DANCING WITH THE STARS ABC 7.8 3.8 1,478
6 AMERICAN IDOL-THURSDAY FOX 6.8 3.5 1,348
7 VOICE NBC 6.5 3.3 1,285
8 GREY’S ANATOMY ABC 6.4 3.1 1,205
9 VOICE-TUE NBC 6.1 3.1 1,216
10 60 MINUTES CBS 6.0 3.0 1,156
11 CASTLE ABC 5.6 2.6 1,024
12 CBS NCAA BSKBL CHP-PRTH2 CBS 5.6 2.7 1,051
13 NCIS: NEW ORLEANS ENCORE CBS 5.3 2.6 1,023
14 MADAM SECRETARY CBS 5.0 2.3 901
15 THE GOOD WIFE CBS 5.0 2.4 930
16 CBS NCAA BSK CHP-BRG-PRTH CBS 5.0 2.4 924
17 NCIS CBS 4.8 2.3 904
18 CSI: CYBER CBS 4.8 2.4 931
19 NCIS: LOS ANGELES CBS 4.8 2.3 907
20 SECRETS AND LIES ABC 4.5 2.4 936
21 CHICAGO FIRE NBC 4.5 2.2 864
22 PERSON OF INTEREST CBS 4.5 2.4 945
23 REVENGE ABC 4.4 2.3 903
24 CBS NCAA BSKBL CHMP-SA-4 CBS 4.3 2.1 813
25 CBS NCAA BSKBL CHP-PRFR1 CBS 4.2 2.2 858

Source: Nielsen. Number of viewers ages 2+ shown in thousands (1,000 = 1 million). Rankings are based on share of black households. Representing more than 13.45 million television households in the U.S., the African-American television audience is the largest minority segment in Nielsen’s measurement samples. All times are eastern.

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