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The ‘Empire’ Effect: Fox’s Fall Is Faring Better Than You Think

”Family Guy“ net is only broadcaster up in original series ratings — and it’s even No. 1, per a particular C7 study

Fox’s raw fall ratings won’t blow anyone’s socks off, but the current third-place broadcast network is faring far better than one might think.

For starters, it’s not in fourth place like last season, per Nielsen’s most current data set, which includes live ratings plus seven days of playback where available — so that’s good. Plus, it’s on the rise while others head the other way.

Season-to-date, Fox is averaging a 2.4 rating/8 share in the advertiser-coveted 18-49 demographic, per those seven-day delayed viewing numbers. That’s flat with last year, whereas the other four English-language broadcasters are all down versus 2014. In the land of negative numbers, the stable channel is king.

Here are the 2015-2016 season-to-date overall numbers and rankings, including year over year trajectories for each network:
1. NBC, 3.0/10, -3%
2. CBS, 2.7/9, -10%
3. Fox, 2.4/8, even
4. ABC, 2.3/8, -15%
5. CW, 0.8/3, -11%

So not bad for Fox, but the picture becomes even rosier when focusing solely on original series. Excluding sports, reruns and news, Fox moves into a second-place tie with ABC. By that count, Fox is up 8 percent, and all the other nets — including top-dog NBC — are actually down double digits.

Check those out here:
1. NBC, 2.8/9, down -10%
2. (tie) Fox, 2.6/8, up +8%
(tie), ABC, 2.6/9, down -10%
4. CBS, 2.5/8, down -14%
5. CW, 0.9/3, down -18%

Clearly, it’s still very good to have the Wednesday-dominant “Empire,” even if the hip-hop soap opera has slid a bit back down to Earth lately.

The seven-day delayed viewing concept offers yet another method of analysis. Still excluding sports, reruns and news programming, Fox’s C7 number — the metric advertisers prefer, as it speaks directly to monetization and counts only viewers who don’t skip over advertising — knots the net up with NBC for a first-place tie.

Per those figures, the other four networks are down double digits again, and Fox has grown more than 10 percent.

Here are those numbers:
1. (tie) Fox, 2.05, up +11%
(tie) NBC, 2.05, down -12%
3. ABC, 1.96, down -13%
4. CBS, 1.87, down -15%
5. CW, 0.65, down -16%

Of course, in the real world, sports and news programming are big deals, and even reruns have their value. But, hey, we’re existing in a brand new TV landscape and in a society where everyone is a winner. So let’s give Fox its credit where it’s due.