Did you watch the new TV Show called "Empire"? If not, do. Please do! The runaway success of the show about a family-run hip-hop music company has surprised the experts since it has started to air, four weeks ago.
The show is full of surprises: a show about a successful black family, on Fox, beating all other shows in history, even in the most difficult demography, the audience aged 18 to 49, the group network TV advertisers target most heavily.
The main cast is all Black: Bryshere Gray, Trai Byers, Jussie Smollett, Terrence Howard and Taraji P. Henson.
The story is about a succesful Black family, rising from rags to riches, but still facing its inner demons;
The story is about the Black music: Hip-hop.
The question is then why is the show the greatest hit in history, having risen each week it has aired, starting at 9.9 million viewers on Jan 7, 2015? Episode 2 brought in 10.3 million total viewers and a 4.0 rating. By the fourth week on February 2, 2015, after an increasing trend it had reached 11.5 million viewers, up from 11.4 million a week before.
What is surprising the TV ratings pundits is that, according to statistics, Black people watch more hours of TV than their White counterparts, but Black characters and shows have been missing on major TV networks and cables or during prime hours. Hence, TV and advertising executives were able to justify the lack in diversity in programming lineups by arguing that advertisers were more interested in paying top dollar for audiences that are hard to get, like young white males.
Empire has proven them wrong. Not only Empire has been successful but has attracted more and more viewers, with 62% of the coveted 18 to 49 year old audience being Black. Often labelled as a remarkable Black version of William Shakespeare's King Lear, Empire has been broken all the stereotypes and puzzled all the media pundits.
Yes, white audiences can watch and enjoy a show featuring a mostly nonwhite cast. Yes,a lot of people from all backgrounds are watching. Yes, blacks are watching even more.
Empire, the mostly Black main cast show, is a success.