Fox’s Empire may be transitioning from a surprise breakout to a phenom with a second consecutive ratings gain. Last night, the hip-hop family drama drew a 4.3 rating among adults 18-49 in the fast nationals, an extraordinary live number these days that only football and CBS comedy The Big Bang Theory have been able to deliver. There hasn’t been another series in at least five years that has grown in both Week 2 and Week 3 after a solid opening.

There was an asterisk next to last night’s ratings growth for Empire as it came with the show’s strongest time-slot rival, flagship ABC comedy Modern Family, airing a repeat vs. originals for the last two weeks. We’ll see if the soapy drama will be able to keep the momentum going next week.

With repeat competition in the 8-9 PM hour on both ABC and NBC, Fox’s American Idol (3.3) also was up from last week, by +14%. Both Idol and Empire also grew in total viewers, with Idol ranking as the most-watched program of the night (11.5 million). Boasting the two top programs of the night in 18-49 and viewers, Fox easily won Wednesday in both categories.

CBS’ The Mentalist (1.5) ticked up a tenth. CBS’ Criminal Minds (1.9) and NBC’s Law & Order: SVU (1.2) are feeling the heat from the new 9 PM competitor, Empire. Both veteran procedurals were down -14% from last week to new series lows in Live+Same Day. At 10 PM, both CBS’ Stalker (1.5) and NBC’s Chicago PD (1.5) were even with last week.

The CW’s Arrow (1.1) returned from a winter hiatus on par with its last original December 10. The 100 (0.6) was up a tenth, +20%.