Chicago-shot “Empire” bows as season’s top new show

“Empire” star Terrance Howard

That sound clinking champagne glasses you hear is coming from the deservedly ecstatic producers, cast and crew of “Empire,” which bowed on Fox network Wednesday night to a 3.8 rating and 9.9 million viewers, according to Nielsen ratings.

The 13-episode series, which wraps filming of season one Feb.13 at Cinespace Studios, rates as the top-rated show in the 18-49 viewer demos and second-most watched overall.

It’s Fox’ highest-rating series debut in three years (since “Touch,” in 2012).

“The fact that the first night audiences loved the show is a great indicator of its future, that it will continued to film here,” says Rich Moskal, Chicago Film Office director. 

The show shoots on stages at Cinespace Studios and employs a local crew of 150.

Moskal had kudos for Fox Television for being “such a loyal and consistent partner with Chicago, bringing pilot after pilot to the year for years, and in the case of ‘Empire,’ a show that’s not set in Chicago.”

Loglined as “King Lear” meets “Dynasty,” the show was created by Oscar nominee Lee Daniels and Emmy-winner Danny Strong, the team behind “Lee Daniels’ The Butler.” Brian Glazer’s Imagine produced.

Terrance Howard stars as music tycoon Luscious Lyon and Taraji P. Henson as his ex-wife, Cookie. After Luscious is diagnosed with a terminal illness (like Kelsey Grammer in “Boss”) he must decide who will lead the massive business among his three sons, Jamal (Jussie Smollett), Andre (Trai Byers) and Hakeem (Bryshere Y. Gray).