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‘Empire’ Season 2 Premiere Grows to 22.5 Million Viewers

Hip-hop soap opera grows 39 percent in Live + 3 day results

“Empire’s” second season premiere just keeps getting bigger.

Fox announced Monday that the show’s sophomore bow grew 39 percent in live + 3 day viewing, rising from 16.2 million viewers when it debuted last Wednesday to 22.5 million. The show also went from a 6.5 rating/20 share in the advertiser coveted 18-49 demographic to an 8.7/27.

According to Fox, 2.9 million of those viewers came from those watching on Fox’s streaming service Fox NOW and on Hulu. The rise in the demo numbers also puts the show ahead of its season one finale, which attracted an 8.4/27 back in March.

Nielsen data also indicated that the season two premiere was the most tweeted hour of scripted programming on broadcast ever, with 1.3 million tweets being sent while the show aired.

The 16.2 million viewer debut was already nearly a series record, coming in just behind the season one finale, which netted 16.7 million viewers in the live ratings. It was the first time that the series did not grow in viewers over the previous episode.

Most top-rated scripted series fall in numbers in their sophomore seasons, including “The Blacklist,” which went from a 3.8 rating in its series premiere to 3.5 in its Season 2 premiere, down 8 percent; “2 Broke Girls,” which fell 48 percent from 7.1 to 3.7; and “Hawaii Five-0,” which went from 3.9 to 3.4, down 15 percent.

“Empire’s” season two premiere marked the highest Season 2-versus-Season 1 premiere gain (up 76 percent) for a scripted show across all of broadcast since “House.” The Hugh Laurie drama rose 119 percent to a 5.9 in its Season 2 premiere, versus a 2.7 from its series debut. And Wednesday’s “Empire” was Fox’s highest-rated season premiere for a scripted show in six years, since “House’s” 2009 Season 6 premiere (6.8).