The Fox hit “Empire” got off to a strong start on Wednesday with 16 million people tuning into its second-season premiere, according to data from Nielsen.

Given its record-breaking freshman season, critics and fans alike were anxious to see whether Empire‘s season two premiere would continue the season one trend of growth from episode to episode, and we’re happy to report that while last night’s premiere failed to outperform Empire‘s season one finale, it did deliver the show’s second-best ratings. Not as high as expected, but a solid showing none the less.

The fall television season began this week at a moment when ratings for television and the networks have been in precipitous decline. “Empire’s” success last year caught nearly the entire industry by surprise, proving that monumental hits are still possible on traditional network television. Fox, which finished the most recent television season in last place in the ratings, is especially in need of strong performances from its shows.

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According to Nielsen, Empire’s season two premiere notched 16 million viewers and earned a 6.5 rating in the adults 18 – 49 demographic.

Empire season one

January 7: 9.9 million viewers

January 14: 10.32 million viewers

January 21: 11.07 million viewers

January 28: 11.36 million viewers

February 4: 11.47 million viewers

February 11: 11.96 million viewers

February 18: 13.02 million viewers

February 26: 13.9 million viewers

March 4: 14.3 million viewers

March 11: 14.9 million viewers

March 18: 16.7 million viewers

Empire season two

September 23: 16 million viewers

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