The cast of Empire in the “Unto the Breach” episode airing on March 4, 2015 on FOX.
When does Empire hit its crescendo? Logic says it would have been weeks ago, but the Fox drama has grown yet again — hitting a 5.7 rating among adults 18-49 during its ninth episode on Wednesday night. And that’s just the preliminary score.
Empire rose another three-tenths of a point in the key demo to hit its latest series high. And American Idol (2.1 adults) bleeding into the 9 p.m. hour means it’s all but guaranteed to grow again in the final score. Empire also hit a new viewership high of 14.2 million viewers.
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Though its total audience is nothing earth-shattering, Empire‘s demo number is basically unprecedented for a typical hour of a broadcast drama in 2015. That’s not quite Walking Dead numbers, at least not yet, but it’s bigger than The Big Bang Theory. If recent time-shifting data holds, Empire is now in a safe position to end the season as broadcast’s top scripted show.
Viewers are still coming on board the series, even as the season finale approaches. Fox cites 100,000 new views of Empire‘s premiere episode per day on VOD, Hulu and the FoxNow app.
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The race for runner-up goes to ABC, which saw Modern Family (3.4 adults) and Black-ish (2.3 adults) hold steady against Empire. In the 8 p.m. hour, The Middle (2.2 adults) rose two-tenths of a point from last week before an even The Goldbergs (2.5 adults). Nashville (1.4 adults) ended the night steady.
Wednesday also brought the premiere of CSI: Cyber on CBS. The latest effort for the procedural franchise averaged a respectable 1.8 rating among adults 18-49 and 10.3 million viewers — both significant improvements for the time period previously occupied by Stalker. It also retained a great deal of its lead-in, Criminal Minds (1.9 adults), steady with its last episode. Survivor was also steady in its second week.
This article originally appeared on The Hollywood Reporter.