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FLOP: ‘Empire’ Ratings Crash for First Episode Since Jussie Smollett Arrest

Fox Television executives are probably rethinking their decision not to scrub all of actor Jussie Smollett’s scenes from the 2nd half of Empire‘s season 5, which returned on March 13 – nearly a month after the disgraced co-lead star was arrested in Chicago for filing a false police report.

Empire returned from winter hiatus, airing its first episode since Smollett allegedly concocted a scheme with 2 pals to stage a hate crime to bring attention to himself on Jan 29.

Smollett, 36, was arrested on Feb. 20 and charged with one count of felony disorderly conduct for lying to police. He bonded out of jail the next day and immediately returned to the Empire set.

Smollett was later hit with 16 counts of felony disorderly conduct. He faces a maximum of 64 years in prison if convicted on all charges.

Days later, FOX announced the actor’s scenes would be written out of the final two episodes of the 2nd half of season 5.

But even before he hired celebrity attorney Mark Geragos to help clear his name, the public had already denounced Smollett as a malignant narcissist who would resort to anything to further his own career.

According to The Wrap, last night’s 8 p.m. episode on Fox TV attracted 4.4 million viewers with a 1.3 rating among adults 18-49. The numbers are way down from last year’s series return from winter hiatus and down double digits from Empire‘s 2018 fall finale.

via The Wrap — The previous original “Empire” episode on Dec. 5 had a 1.5 rating and 5.043 million total viewers. Last year’s midseason return put up a 2.0 rating and tallied 6.217 million viewers.

As a matter of fact, last night’s “Empire” drew the second-smallest audience and second-worst demo rating ever for “Empire.” The only episode to draw fewer “live” eyeballs (4.229 million) and a lower demo rating (a 1.2) aired on Halloween 2018, which makes sense, as people were out celebrating and not in front of their TVs.

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