Fox's 'Empire' Getting Half a Million Dollars for 30 Seconds of Ad Time

2011-12 'American Idol' the Last Non-Sports Broadcast Show to Crack $500,000

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Terrence Howard as Lucious Lyon in the
Terrence Howard as Lucious Lyon in the Credit: Chuck Hodes/Fox
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It will cost advertisers just as much to advertise in the upcoming season of Fox's "Empire" as it does in some top-tier NFL programming.

Fox is selling commercial time in its hip-hop drama for about $500,000 for a 30-second spot, according to media buyers. And in some cases advertisers are paying more than that. That's on par with the prices for a 30-second commercial in CBS's "Thursday Night Football" last season, according to Ad Age's 2014 survey.

The Sept. 23 premiere is already sold out, according to buyers, and the finale is nearing that point.

A Fox spokeswoman declined to comment on pricing and sell-out levels.

Fox will once again air "Empire" with limited commercials, as it did in its first season.

"Empire" will likely be one of advertisers' most expensive non-sports programs, if not the most, in broadcast prime time this season. Last year, the most expensive non-sports program on broadcast was CBS's "The Big Bang Theory," at $344,827 for a 30-second spot.

It hasn't been since the 2011-12 season, when Fox's "American Idol" cost marketers $502,900, that an entertainment broadcast property topped $500,000.

"Empire" broke ratings records in its freshman season, growing its audience week-to-week throughout its run, a feat not achieved in the modern TV era. The show, which follows a music mogul and his family, averaged 13 million viewers in live and same day viewing and a 5.1 in the all-important 18-to-49 demographic.

It wound up averaging a 5.9 rating in the demo in C3 commercial ratings, representing 7.45 million adults, more than double the C3 rating for the season's second-biggest new series, "How To Get Away With Murder" on ABC.

Lincoln will return as a sponsor of the show, joined this season by Pepsi.

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