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Fox is dropping 'American Idol,' and goes all in on 'Empire' and the black audience

(May 11, 2015) Prior to Monday's upfront presentation of its plans for the coming TV season, the
Fox Television Group announced that it is dropping "American Idol" in 2016 and is moving its newest midseason success, "Empire," to a return in the fall. It will also increase its schedule for the hip-hop drama to 18 episodes from 12.

"Empire" replaced "Idol" as Fox's leading ratings winner by becoming the only show in television history to grow each consecutive week in audience. It also was historic in that
if not a single white viewer had ever tuned in, the show's Black audience alone would have ranked it among the top five in the national ratings. Total white viewership for the hip-hop drama never exceeded 39% for any episode, and dropped to 29% for the record-breaking finale. 

The change in assignment will mean that "Empire" will have its season split in half to nine in the fall and another nine in the spring. It remains the Wednesday night anchor, preceded by the new lead-in drama, "Rosewood," about a Miami pathologist played by Morris Chestnut.

This is not the first time that Fox has gone all in by placing its bet on the African-American television audience. Indeed, many industry observers cite 1980's programs like "In Living Color" and "The Arsenio Hall Show" as the building blocks that brought the network its first successes when it first went on the air in 1985.


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