The latest ratings news as of this publishing. “From The Hollywood Reporter, February 19, 2015 "Empire's continued ratings growth should be getting boring at this point — but somehow, it's not. Fox's midseason champ rose yet again in its seventh episode, setting another high bar for its live-plus-same-day showing.
The latest high has Empire passing the lofty 5.0 rating and averaging a 5.1 rating among adults 18-49. That's up up three-tenths of a point from the previous high last week, and it could easily still go up even more in final returns this afternoon. Viewership was also up a solid million to 12.94 million viewers.
Empire nearly doubled the demo haul of lead-in American Idol, steady with a 2.7 rating with adults 18-49 and something of a footnote in Fox's easy win for the night."
The Empire ratings have been called “unprecedented” because that’s just what they are! They are breaking decades old records—every week! I call it a “The Cosby Show Level Ratings Event”. When The Cosby Show came on it “shook up the world” and quickly rose to become the number one show on television.
I’ve been a fan of Empire since day one, but some of my black friends stopped watching it. Basically they think it’s “coonery” and shows black people in a bad light. I do not share that opinion and as you can tell by many of my posts on this very blog, like Magic Negro and other posts across other social media, that I’m very cognizant of African American images in the media. I not only think the depictions are fine, I’m enjoying every minute of it!
Below Ernest Owens wrote a great piece and crystallized my thoughts on the matter. After his piece I posted two links to other articles on Empire’s success that I posted on the ‘Nother Brother Entertainment Facebook page.
Dear Empire Critics, Stop Hating. You Just Don't Get It.
Dear Empire critics,
In a society that is currently
more observant of media and entertainment pitfalls than ever before,
sometimes we are too quick to judge. The speedy jolt of a tweet to pass
prejudgment, or the too-full-of-assumptions Facebook essay to sound off
on a quick observation, continues to reflect a culture that misinforms
more quickly than it educates.
Your misplaced condemnation proves not only that you are showcasing total personal bias but that you are also out of touch.
who pan this show are typically divided into two spheres: They're
either advocates of making black television a respectability-politics
showcase or they want to improperly use critical race theory.
The former wants programs that showcase blacks in a "proper" light,
living behind nice picket fences with both parents in the household and
all the children getting along just fine and no "ratchetry" to be found
among this well-educated faith-based unit. Basically, these
narrow-minded critics secretly desire to recreate The Cosby Show
in any way possible, because it makes them feel acceptable under the
white perception of a fantasied middle-class black family that ignores
the socioeconomic disparity of their peers in America.
also wants to police black imagery. They try to apply very strategic and
scholarly approaches to every single aspect of the show. If there are
gay black men in the episode, they are quick to misconstrue the
inclusion and rather inappropriately cite all the times mainstream
programs "emasculated the black man." If they see that a black woman is
ever upset or violent, they are quick to act as though the media is in a
conspiracy to depict the "angry black woman" trope at every
opportunity. They ignore the context of a plot and setting and apply
everything they see to their academic prerogative.
What both of
these types of critics have failed to realize is that Daniels is a black
gay man who is getting the chance to artistically produce his
imagination and expression of society for network television to see.
This show is not intended to garner white people's approval of our
existence -- and if you have been keeping up with the headlines, you
should know that your respectability won't save you. It's a prime-time
drama for entertainment and reflection, people, not a political
editorial or a public-policy initiative. Daniels is a creator who should
be given a right to fully explore his cinematic talent without being
constrained by the narrow social confines of "making black people look
If you are looking carefully at what I and the
increasingly impressive millions of viewers are watching every Wednesday
night, you will see a multidimensional cast of black characters who all
meaningfully contribute to the plot. You will see various depictions of
wealth and success, levels of education, shades and body images of
black women, sexuality and acceptance, music and style -- a unique and
inclusive look at what issues and discussions we are having in 2015.
show is relevant and bold enough to be presented on network television
and tell a tale that doesn't revolve around a white observance. Where
else can you find that on television? While Blackish tries to show a black family adjusting in white suburbia, Empire owns the place. While Olivia Pope is chasing after a white president, Empire has their black CEO talking to President Barack Obama. While How to Get Away With Murder
(which I am a die-hard fan of as well) has a black leading actress, she
still has to put up with the racial confines of her self-identity and
vulnerability. Empire has black women who are motivated, complex and self-driven while not having to take into consideration what white people think.
Empire is our Dallas.
It transports us into a reality where we can see ourselves as one of
the characters on the show. Whether snobby or reckless, gay or straight,
dark or mocha, disabled or not, there is more to be seen from just the
story line alone. It is one thing to criticize "reality" television that
runs the risk of trying to depict black life disproportionately in one
light as opposed to a scripted drama led by a black filmmaker who is
guiding the plot.
For those critics who argue for diversity in
prime-time in one breath but are then quick to tear down a black program
that hasn't even made it to its second season, check your reasoning. If
we are to demand more diverse programs, we have to also respect the
nuance in them as well.
No, every show can't be a black family
sitcom or an investigative crime spoof. If we are to actually recognize
all aspects of black life, we need to recognize that there should be
room for the highly educated as well as the working-class. There have to
be shows that have heteronormative relationship dynamics but also gay,
interracial ones as well. We need to accept that black programs are not
reflections of just our own personal and social views but those of the
many multitudes of the diaspora.
Empire is a phenomenal
step toward encouraging us to see more levels and faces of the black
experience than ever before, and we should be celebrating that alone. If
that type of subject matter does not appeal to your taste, then
respectfully agree to disagree. But just like the many white-dominated
prime-time programs that I see on a regular basis that I don't prefer,
you don't see me on a campaign to denounce their existence. Let's give
our black filmmakers and actors more respect and understanding than
The skill set from your high level of inspection and
critiquing of this show would be best applied to the various loopholes
in wealth disparity in this country or possible discriminatory laws that
have yet to reach the Senate floor, not on an evening program that has
not even completed its first season. Do better with your educated
efforts and theories analytically.
Here's to hopefully seeing you as part of the high ratings on Wednesday nights.