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EMPIRE Has Ratings Rise After Four Week Declines … Delivers Sudsy Episode With Hakeem's Kidnapping!

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Lee Daniels soapy creation, Empire headed into its first break of the season on a ratings uptick on Fox Wednesday night!

According to preliminary national estimates from Nielsen, as noted by Variety, Empire averaged a 4.8 rating/15 share in adults 18-49 and 12.2 million viewers overall from 9 to 10 p.m., up a tick from last week for the show’s first week-over-week gain of the season.  It was also up 4% from its fifth episode of its rookie season. Empire was especially dominant in adults 18-34, where its 4.3 rating/17 share more than doubled the No. 2 program on Wednesday, ABC’s Modern Family (1.9/7).

The sudsy drama is scheduled to be off next week for Game 2 of the World Series, which will be broadcast by Fox Sports, and could be off on November 4th as well if a seventh game is needed.

Empire showrunner Ilene Chaiken spoke to Variety about the game-changing events that will be picked-up when the series returns in two weeks or so.   In terms of Hakeem’s (Bryshere Gray) kidnapping, she teased:  “It’s got a trade term — it’s called a snatch-and-grab. It happens in the music business, in all kinds of celebrity business, but particularly in the hip-hop business. It really is the story in episode six, but the issue of whether or not Lucious and Thirsty have something to do with it is key to the story.”  Jamal (Jussie Smollett) is cheated on by his boyfriend Michael (Rafael de la Fuente) in a shockerChaiken revealed why the story turn: “As we talked about that story, we conceived that story a little behind the scenes — we met with all the actors over the course of the season and when Jussie Smolett came into the room, we wound up talking a lot about having a relationship when your fame is going through the roof. We thought that was an interesting story. We thought, is it going to go to Jamal’s head? And then we realized it was actually a much more interesting story to see Jamal’s boyfriend cheat on him. Jamal is a man who can pretty much have anyone he wants, and the one person that he really cares for hurts him because he’s so threatened by Jamal’s fame.”  And as far as Cookie’s (Taraji P. Henson) new love interest, Laz Delgado  (Adam Rodriguez), Chaiken would say:  “You’re going to learn a little bit more about him in the next episode. I thought there was some crackling tension between them. Clearly she’s intrigued, and he’s intrigued. They’re flirting — straight up! I’ve never noticed Cookie sitting too long on that type of feelings. I think they’re two people who are quite likely to act on their attraction to each other.”

So, what did you think of last night’s episode of Empire? Upset Hakeem was kidnapped? Who has him?  Intrigued by Cookie’s new man?  Upset that Michael cheated on Jamal?  Are you digging season two?  Comment below!

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I was a huge fan of “Empire” during its first season. I thought the acting was great, the storylines moved at break-neck pace and the cast was amazing. I have watched three of the five episodes this season and continue to struggle with enjoying the show. I have HATED some of the smaller storylines, especially Cookie instructing Anika to sleep with Marisa Tomei’s character just to close a deal. I found that slightly offensive to the character. How many straight women would sleep with a woman just to close a business deal?

During the first three episodes, I could not keep up with which son was choosing Luscious and which were choosing Cookie’s record deal. It seemed they were all changing their allegiance and it became too confusing.

I think they show continues to explore more of the “street cred” life. I love the actors and a great nighttime soap opera, but it gets difficult to understand all of the “slang” after a while.

Tarija P. Henson and Jussie Smollett are HUGE breakout stars. I will continue watching it, but hope some of the shock factor gets toned down as the series gets older.


Have not seen Wednesday’s ep yet.

Did not like the season premiere ep. Too much going on.

I do not like all the music. I know it’s a show about music, but I want to see acting and story.

Some of the stuff I have not liked. I am still watching. I still enjoy it. I do not enjoy Hakeem’s ‘acting’. He’s okay when rapping, but he can’t act. It’s so one note.


I still love Empire. Terrence and Taraji is amazing. And I also love Trai Byers; he is an excellent actor. I can admit that the season premiere had too much going on but overall, I feel that Cookie and Lucious’s drama saved the episode. There were some great scenes and I still wanted more. I was not a big fan of Anika sleeping with Mimi either; I know people do that kind of stuff but it seemed unnecessary and another way to further humiliate Anika. She is not my favorite character especially after what she did to Courtney Love’s character, but they are totally demoralizing her and not sure I care for that. And as much as I LOVE COOKIE, I don’t think she has to crush her every single time she sees her. But as far as the season overall, I am enjoying it immensely. Empire was only 12 episodes last season; this season it is 18 so it is going to be developed a lot more slowly and they are going to dig more into the other characters and stories so it seems like it is going fine to me. I will continue watching. On every show, there is always gonna be a couple of episodes that aren’t as good as the others. I can’t wait to see how it all ends. My thinking is that Thirsty is behind Hakeem’s kidnapping. I believe he is doing it for Lucious but I don’t believe that Lucious is actually aware of the things that Thirsty is doing on his behalf. I like Thirsty as Lucious’s new right hand but he brought him in too quickly and trusted him too soon. I’d like to think that Lucious would not have his son kidnapped and beaten and if so, I think THAT would change how I felt about the show. I can accept Lucious being the villain; every show needs that but deep down I feel that he loves his sons and no way that act could be explained away if he knows about it. IMO, they could never overcome that so I hope that is not the case. Or maybe it’s Beretti. Hopefully it is ANYONE but Lucious. But we’ll see.


EMPIRE Season Four Finale: A Wedding, Two Deaths … Maybe More!

On the season four finale of Empire, two deaths, maybe another, and a marriage, highlighted the twists and turns of the Fox hip-hop music soap opera.

First, Cookie’s (Taraji P. Henson) long time rival, Boo Boo Kitty aka Anika, played by Grace Gealey, took one of the more horrific signature tumbles that Empire is known for.  Payback is definitely a bitch!


Andre (Trai Byers) spiked Anika’s champagne before her press conference when she announces she has taken over as CEO of “Empire.”  While she is making her speech, she starts seeing visions of Rhonda, featuring Kaitlin Doubleday reprising her role. As she is speaking to the press, Anika is having hallucinations of Rhonda and her delusions reach epic proportions.  Then, we watch Anika smash through glass and fall several floors below to her death. According to showrunner EP Greg Mahoney, Anika is truly dead.

But also, at the top of the hour, recovering junkie Tori, played by Rumer Willis, was rushed to the hospital.  This was following an emotional confrontation with Jamal (Jussie Smollett). He visits her in the rehab center where she realizes she’s still got deep addiction issues.  After, they have a talk, she tells him to watch out for himself, and that the Lyon family will bring him down, and he needs to find his own path in life. Later, Jamal comes back to see her, only to find out that she has suffered complications from a grand mal seizure, and has died.  This prompts Jamal to go on a self-journey, and leave the Lyon’s nest for now.

Meanwhile, at the end of the episode, Cookie and Lucious (Terrence Howard), finally, finally after all the bickering … all the backstabbing … all the health issues … all the betrayals … went down to city hall to get re-married.  This was a long time coming. It was a simple ceremony, but as with any Empire season finale, there was a major juxtaposition going on adjacent to the main scene, and this was also the case for season four’s final moments.

While Cookie and Lucious were getting married, the camera cuts to Hakeem (Bryshere Gray) and his baby mama Tiana (Serayah McNeill) getting ready to travel in a car along with white rapper Blake in tow, only to see that Blake’s racist father comes out of nowhere and attempts to assassinate Hakeem!  We don’t know if anyone was struck … we don’t know if anybody died … we fade to black.

On the business end of things, Eddie, played by Oscar winner Forest Whitaker, won the “Empire” auction.  He has forced the Lyon family to start from scratch as they no longer have the business that they spent years putting their blood, sweat, and tears into.


When TV Line asked showrunner Brett Mahoney about the shooting at the end of the episode and if it will lead to a third death, he said, “I won’t say.  I will say that things won’t be the same between the four people that were involved in that.” Mahoney added that the early part of season five will focus on the Lyon family building a new empire.  He teased, “Yes.  But I think it’s going to be a much more difficult process than Cookie thinks it’s going to be.  And it’ll tear at the relationship between Cookie and Lucious and the boys, in terms of trying to achieve that goal.”


So, what did you think about the season four finale of Empire?  What did you think about who died?  What did you think about Cookie and Lucious tying the knot?  Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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EMPIRE Renewed For Season 5!

The Lyon family drama lives on!  News today from Michael Thorn, entertainment president for Fox Broadcasting, confirmed that Empire has been officially renewed for its fifth season!

With only four episodes left in its fourth season, and the Upfronts in New York in just a few weeks previewing the  2018-2019 season for advertisers, this was the perfect time to reveal the pick-up for the sudsy musical drama series.

In his statement, Thorn said of the series: “Empire is as compelling, emotional and unpredictable as it ever was. We are so proud of our amazing cast, led by Terrence and Taraji, who deliver powerful performances week after week. We’d also like to thank our tremendous creative team – Lee, Danny, Brett, Ilene, Sanaa, Brian and Francie – whose inspired storytelling continues to create the unforgettable, jaw-dropping OMG moments that have always been signature to Empire.”

Although the once huge Wednesday juggernaut has slid significantly in the ratings in 14 episodes this season, the show is averaging a 1.9 rating in the 18-49 demo and 5.8 million total viewers — down 31% and 24%, respectively from last season, the series is the network’s second most watched in multi-platform viewing, averaging 11.3 million viewers.

There was no confirmation of how many episodes will be ordered for the fifth season of Empire, but it is says to be most likely 18. (more…)

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Sneak Peek: Alfre Woodard’s Debut as Cookie’s Mom on Empire!

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

When the casting news broke that award-winning actress, Alfre Woodard was cast as Taraji P. Henson’s mom on Empire, fans of the series could not wait to see what would go down when Cookie was reunited with her momma!

Now that Empire is back on FOX for its back half of its fourth season, the series put out a teaser video of Woodard’s entrance into the storyline.

In the sneak peek video, Woodard plays Renee Holloway who is trying to reconnect with her daughter after many years.

Can this mother and daughter come to a resolution and move forward in their relationship, or does Renee have alterior motives when it comes to getting her hands on some of the money from the musical empire?

Watch Alfre on Empire after the jump.  Then ket us know, what do you think of the casting of Alfre as Taraji’s on-screen mom? Comment below. (more…)

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