How did 'Empire' fans react to the show's return on Twitter?

How did 'Empire' fans react to the show's return on Twitter?
Pictured L-R: Trai Byers as Andre Lyon, Bryshere Gray as Hakeem Lyon and Gabourey Sidibe as Becky. (Chuck Hodes/Fox)

The Lyon family is back and fans couldn't stop roaring about the second season's first episode on Twitter.

The Season 2 debut of Fox's hit show "Empire" sparked about 1.3 million tweets, according to early Nielsen Twitter TV ratings. Such high Twitter chatter comes as no shock given the show's popularity on social media. Last year, the show surged in ratings every week and surpassed the live-tweet average of ABC's #TGIT Shonda Rhimes show "Scandal."

Created by Academy Award nominee Lee Daniels and Emmy Award-winner Danny Strong, "Empire" follows music tycoon Luscious Lyon (Terrence Howard) and the fight among his three sons -- Jamal (Jussie Smollett), Andre (Trai Byers) and Hakeem (Bryshere Y. Gray) -- and mom Cookie (Taraji P. Henson) to control the business.

Of the tweets, 310,828 -- almost 24% -- contained "reactions," or tweets with emotions, according to Canvs, a social TV platform. The company uses relevant tweets, provided by Nielsen, to gauge what emotions people have about TV. The tweets are then broken down into reactions.

About 21.4%, or about 66,466 tweets, were reactions of love, much of that geared toward Henson's character Cookie and the show as a whole.

Even celebrities were buzzing.

The hashtag "#empire," which Twitter created a customized Emoji for, was used in about 51% of reaction tweets. Other popular hashtags included "#empireseason2," "#empirefox" and "#freelucious."

Comedian Chris Rock, who guest starred on the Season 2 debut as Lucious' prison-mate Frank Gathers, was mentioned in 11.7% of the reaction tweets.

Another popular moment from the show, where in Ankita (Grace Gealey) starts dancing with Mimi (played by guest star Marisa Tomei), caused this image to go viral. It was the most tweeted minute of the show, with about 32,363 tweets following Ankita's dancing.

Here was the real moment

About 16% of users expressed excitement throughout their live tweeting. An estimated 15% of Twitter reactions found the launch funny and 11.6% found it crazy.

The show earned a 6.5/20 rating, up 71% from last season’s premiere in the 18- to 49-year-old demographic, according to Nielsen ratings. The return of the show garnered 16 million viewers overall.

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