Empire has pulled off one last ratings miracle for its debut season.
Wednesday’s two-hour finale delivered 16.5 million viewers and a 6.4 rating among adults 18-49. That’s the highest-rated freshman series finale since Grey’s Anatomy’s debut season in 2005.
That’s another series-best performance for Fox’s break-out hip-hop drama — up about 10 percent from last week — capping a season full of unprecedented series bests. This also marks Fox’s highest-rated Wednesday night in over three years.
Empire managed to grow its viewership for ten consecutive weeks. In fact, according to Fox, Empire now has surpassed CBS’ The Big Bang Theory in the adult demo to rank as broadcast’s top-rated TV series among original episodes — drama or comedy (Empire‘s most-current average is a 6.8 rating including DVR; Big Bang Theory is at 6.7). There is one entertainment show that still beats Empire, however, and it’s on basic cable — AMC’s The Walking Dead (even comparing Sunday’s episode to the Empire finale, TWD edged out the Fox series with its 7.0 rating among adults 18-49, though Empire has more total viewers). Empire also has had the most substantial growth of any new broadcast series in more than eight years.