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For the few of you who didn’t watch the explosive two-hour season finale of Fox’s smash hit show Empire last night, what else were you doing? Apparently, those views weren’t needed as Empire once more defied convention and achieved a new record in overall viewership.

Lead by Terrence Howard, Taraji P. Henson, Jussie Smollett and Bryshere Y. Gray, Empire has been one of the hottest and heavily criticized shows in recent times. Now that the first season is wrapped up, fans have a lot to dissect and speculate as the show goes into hiatus ahead of its second season. In the high-stakes television market, it’s all about the ratings and  Empire has been delivering on that front all season.

Deadline reported on the show’s most recent spike, noting that viewership hit 16.5 million and eclipsing last week’s high.

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There were resolutions, successions, music and arrests on the 2-hour Season 1 ender of the hip hop drama last night. And for the 10th week in a row since its January 7 debut, Fox’s Empire (6.4/20) hit a brand new viewership high of 16.5 million. That’s up 11% from the 14.90 million that the Lee Daniels, Danny Strong, Ilene Chaiken, Francie Calfo and Brian Glazer EP’d series drew on March 11. Empire also had another new record among adults 18-49 with a 10% rise over last week’s 5.8/17, which was tied with the drama’s March 4 show for the previous all time high. The 8 – 10 PM finale was also up an amazing 68% jump over the 18-49 rating of its debut and rose 67% over the 9.90 million who tuned in for that first show of the 12-episode season.

Empire has already been renewed for a second season and the show has been a crossover darling, even landing on Saturday Night Live in a clever spoof featuring Thor actor Chris Hemsworth.

Photo: Fox