(CHICAGO) — The first original episode of Empire since Jussie Smollet’s arrest and indictment on charges of filing a false police report have come in…and it’s not looking good.
According to the The Wrap, the episode, which aired earlier this week, brought in a 1.3 rating among adults 18-49 and a total of 4.4 million viewers. That’s a steep dive from the show’s fall finale, as well as from last year’s mid-season return.
Empire’s previous episode, which aired on Dec. 5, had a 1.5 rating and five million total viewers. Last year’s mid-season return had even better numbers: a 2.0 rating and a total of 6.2 million viewers.
The Wrap reports that Wednesday’s episode drew the second-smallest audience ever for Empire. The lowest-rated Empire episode aired on Halloween night 2018.
Ahead of the mid-season return of Empire, the show’s executive producer Brett Mahoney told Entertainment Weekly that he was confident there would be a season six renewal of the show.
“I know that the network and studio is really happy with what we’ve done creatively this season… And we do have so many of these stories to tell, so I can’t imagine we won’t be able to tell them,” he said.
As previously reported, Smollett has been indicted on 16 felony counts related to his claim that he was the victim of a racially-motivated attack in Chicago in January. After a thorough investigation, police declared the attack to be a hoax, and said that Smollett hired two brothers to carry out the plan.
Smollett has denies the police’s version of events and continues to maintain his innocence.
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