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Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Wed., Jan. 14) -- Empire again drives Fox to dominance

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Just two weeks into its reign, Fox’s Empire is showing strong signs of being the show that could turn the network’s entire season around.

Wednesday’s Episode 2 not only crushed all competing programming. It also improved on its eye-catching ratings for last week’s Episode 1.

Empire drew 425,414 D-FW viewers in the 8 p.m. hour, up from the premiere episode’s 348,700. And its performance among advertiser-prized 18-to-49-year-olds accelerated from 163,998 viewers to 233,381.

That easily makes the hip-hop soaper the biggest breakout hit of this season. And it also demonstrates that a drama series with a predominantly black cast can pull in a large mainstream audience. That’s never happened before on the Big Four broadcast networks. That’s right. Never.

Serving as Empire’s 7 to 8 p.m. lead-in, Fox’s American Idol also improved on last week’s performance while likewise dominating its time slot. Idol had 362,648 total viewers and 154,536 in the 18-to-49 demographic.

Fox4’s 9 p.m. local newscast then capped the night with a two-pronged time slot win. It drew 258,038 total viewers, with 94,614 in the 18-to-49 age range.

Empire doesn’t have it easy in the 8 p.m. hour, going against CBS’ Criminal Minds, ABC’s Modern Family and black-ish and NBC’s Law & Order: SVU. Criminal Minds was the runner-up in total viewers (251,064) while Modern Family ran second among 18-to-49-year-olds (132,460).

Here are Wednesday’s local news derby results.

CBS11 had the most total viewers at 10 p.m., enabling sports anchor Babe Laufenberg to go out a winner with his sign-off after 17 years at the station. But CBS11 again dipped to fourth among 25-to-54-year-olds (main advertiser target audience for news programming) while NBC5 rose from third to first.

Fox4 ran the table at 6 a.m. The 6 p.m. golds were split between CBS11 in total viewers and NBC5 with 25-to-54-year-olds.

The Peacock won in total viewers at 5 p.m.. But Gannett beat Fox4 by a paper-thin margin in the 25-to-54 demographic.

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