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‘Empire’ Surpasses ‘Big Bang Theory’ as Most Popular Show on Network TV

The numbers are in for its first season, and Empire has officially become the most popular show on network TV.

In the key adults 18-49 demographic, Empire now outranks The Big Bang Theory. The FOX smash pulled a 6.9 in the demo whereas CBS’s #1 comedy pulled in a 6.7. The news was broken by Vulture’s Joe Adalian, who posted the announcement on Twitter:

Naturally, both shows pale in comparison to the juggernaut known as The Walking Dead. While The Big Bang Theory and Empire got more viewers for their respective episodes (with the comedy topping out at 16 million while the Empire finale hit 17.5 million), AMC’s zombie drama obliterates both in the key demographic. Its season finale drew a record 10.4 million viewers in the 18-49 demo, making it the most popular show on television overall this season. That said, it’s a cable show as opposed to a standard broadcast network series, so in many ways, it’s judged on a different scale. Of course, being the most popular doesn’t always equate to being the highest-rated, but even while NCIS is TV’s #1 show in overall viewership, it likely doesn’t get the ad dollars that a show like Empire gets, because it draws in a much, much older audience. It also doesn’t have the sort of popularity that extends beyond the television medium. But that’s not the case for Empire. Not only did it grow its audience from week to week in unprecedented fashion, the series has become one of the most socially active on the internet. It’s even managed to top the music charts as well, as its soundtrack debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard charts.

In short, Empire delivered one of the most successful first seasons of any show in recent network TV history, and its success is well-deserved.

'Empire' Surpasses 'Big Bang Theory' as Most Popular Show on Network TV

Credit: Chuck Hodes/FOX

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