EMPIRE on Fire Following Seventh Smash Week

EMPIRE on Fire Following Seventh Smash Week

"Thanks to record ratings, soapy plots, and a sterling cast, EMPIRE has become the television story of 2015." So says Entertainment Weekly, which has reserved its upcoming March cover (pictured left) for the hit Fox show, which recently wrapped shooting on its first season in Chicago.

Why the EW cover for EMPIRE? Because the biggest new hit of the season has grown its viewership for an incredible seventh week in a row. The Chicago-made hip-hop drama broke records once again Wednesday night, hitting 13.8 million viewers and a 5.3 rating among adults 18-49. Not only does that mark seven weeks of improving audience numbers, but according to EW, that rating is the highest for a regularly scheduled telecast of a broadcast network drama series in five years, since an epiosde of GREY'S ANATOMY in 2010.

"EMPIRE is breaking all the ratings rules. People just love the characters, even the ones you love to hate," says Michael Nehs, partner at Periscope Post & Audio.

And with EMPIRE being renewed for a second season after just two episodes, there has been been plenty to love for quite a few Chicago production professionals and companies, including Nehs' Periscope post house. "EMPIRE has been great for Chicago. The hiring of local producers, actors and crew shows the network's faith in our talent here. We've recorded over 30 songs with 26 making it to air. We couldn't be happier being a part of the EMPIRE family."

Up next for EMPIRE: It's looking like pre-production for Season Two might be getting underway in April with shooting starting back up in June, but no specific dates have been released yet. As always, I'll keep you posted. In the meantime, catch up on the Season One at http://www.fox.com/empire

Mike McNamara is the Co-Founder of The Midwest Independent Film Festival, www.midwestfilm.org. Mike pays his rent as an actor in Chicago in theatre, commercials, television and film. More from Mac at www.findmac.com.