*Fox’s first-year drama “Empire” continued its run of unmatched growth in viewers Wednesday, hitting a series high for the fifth straight week since its premiere and easily becoming the night’s No. 1 program in key demos.

According to preliminary national estimates from Nielsen, “Empire” (4.7 rating/14 share in adults 18-49, 11.9 million viewers overall) was up a tick in the demo while gaining about 400,000 total viewers to hit new highs in both categories, notes The Hollywood Reporter.

Since bowing with 9.9 million viewers on Jan. 7, the show has grown with each week: 10.3 million, 11.1 million, 11.4 million, 11.5 million and now 11.9 million.

Last week, it became the first program in the history of Nielsen’s People Meters (going back to 1991) to grow in total viewers with each of its four episodes following its premiere. And last night, it added to its record.

In its 9 o’clock timeslot, “Empire” beat runner-up ABC’s comedy hour by 6 shares in adults 18-49, by 4 shares in adults 25-54 and by a monster 9 shares in adults 18-34. Roughly 64% of its 18-49 audience was female, but it still led its hour in the men 18-49 demo by more than 50% (3.4 vs. 2.2).

Among the large markets monitored with Nielsen People Meters, “Empire” fared best in Atlanta, Detroit and St. Louis (a 25 share for each). It also did a 21 share in Washington, D.C., and a 20 in both Chicago and Philadelphia.

“Empire” continued its ascent even though lead-in “American Idol” (2.7/9 in 18-49, 10.4 million viewers overall) was down about 10% to a season-low Wednesday score. The music competition still won its hour across the board, including by 2 shares in both 18-49 and 25-54.

Fox dominated the night, winning across the board. In adults 18-49, its 3.7 average matched the combined scored of second-place ABC (2.1) and third-place CBS (1.6).

In total viewers: Fox, 11.2 million; CBS, 8.9 million; ABC, 7.0 million; NBC, 6.2 million; Univision, 2.8 million; Telemundo, 1.4 million.