Empire Starts Small


The early returns on ABC's much ballyhooed, big ticket Empire were not good.

This version of Rome--HBO has another--certainly wasn't built in day one.

Its debut at 9-11 Tuesday night did not win a single half-hour in the 18-49 demo in the Nieslen overnight numbers, though it did build from a 1.8 to a 2.1 over the course of the night. The six-hour summer series continues as an hour at 10 p.m. Tuesdays.

The competition did not roll over before the advancing Roman armies, with ABC coming in last among the Big Four for the night.

In an extremely tight race, CBS won the night with a 2.1 rating/6 share, thanks to a 2.5/7 for reality show, Fire Me, Please, at 9 and a particuarly strong, time period-winning performance from a 48 Hours Mystery (2,4/7) at 10.

Fox was second with a 1.9/6 on the strength of a 2.5/8 for a rerun of House, which easily topped the first hour of Empire (1.9/5).

NBC was third with a 1.8/5 for the debut of summer reality shows I Want to Be a Hilton and Average Joe 4.

ABC was fourth with a 1.7/5 for Empire (2.0/5) and a George Lopez repeat (1.3/4).

In the netlet race, UPN and The WB tied at a .8/2 for all-repeat lineups of their regular fare.