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"Empire" a local and national hit, but it can't beat meaningless Pro Bowl

This is what I’m thinking:

Fox’s sudsy series “Empire” set inside the music industry looks like a hit in Western New York as well as nationally before its third episode airs tonight.

The heavily-promoted opening episode had a 5.0 rating on WUTV, the local Fox affiliate. That makes it the highest-rated scripted Fox series here on the same day the program airs.

Better news yet for Terrence Howard and the rest of the cast is the rating for the second episode here went up more than 20 percent to a 6.2 and the third episode rose almost another 10 percent to 6.8. The three episodes averaged a live rating of 6.0.

“Empire” has been helped by the lead-in it is receiving from “American Idol,” but those are still impressive numbers for Fox series, especially before viewership up to seven days later is added.

“Gotham” was the top-rated Fox scripted series locally during the November sweeps with viewers up to seven days after it aired with a 7.1 rating. It gets a substantial boost from its live ratings on Mondays.

The first “Empire” only rose slightly to a 6.2 rating up to seven days after it aired before it generated much more buzz that is bound to improve overall viewing for the second episode.

I suppose it isn’t surprising that the Pro Bowl on ESPN featuring NFL All-Stars had a higher live rating than the first "Empire" and twice the rating here Sunday that the NHL All-Star Game had on NBCSN. The score was 6.1 for the NFL carried in the evening, 2.4 for the NHL game that started in late afternoon. But it may be slightly surprising than the NHL Skills Challenge (2.5) on Saturday night had a slightly higher rating here than the NHL All-Star game. I’m actually impressed that anyone watched either meaningless All-Star game that makes a mockery out of the way the sports are normally played for the sake of entertainment.

I’m afraid to think what this says about WNY, but the NFL also handily defeated the Miss Universe content carried by NBC. It had a 3.8 rating on Channel 2.

Channel 4’s decision to use “Classic Jeopardy” episodes as the 5 p.m. news lead-in instead of Meredith Vieira’s talk show has been an early success. The "Jeopardy” repeats are averaging about a 3.5 rating at 4:30 p.m. while Vieira’s hour-long averaged a 2.1. Of course, “Ellen” (7.1) on Channel 2 still dominates the time slot.

Channel 7’s newest reporter, Cierra Johnson, was impressive in her debut over the weekend. A graduate of Ohio University, Johnson participated in a two-year apprentice program run by that Channel 7’s parent company, E.W. Scripps. She previously was at the Scripps station in Cincinnati.

I don't know if it had anything to do with my Tuesday suggestion, but Channel 4 sent meteorologist Todd Santos out in the cold during the 6 p.m. weather report he is now sharing with Don Paul. The two-man weather dance still looks forced. It probably would be best for Santos to go it alone for the 5 p.m., 5:30 p.m. and 10 p.m. weathercasts and Paul to go solo for the main newscasts at 6 p.m. and 11 p.m.

apergament@buffnews.com

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