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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.”

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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 Six Premiere: Andre Is In For A Shocker

When Fox’s music biz soap opera, Empire returns for its sixth and final season (kicking off this Tuesday, September 24th, 9/8c) the opener features cancer survivor, Andre Lyon (Trai Byers) in charge of the Lyon dynasty – with his dad, Luscious completely MIA.

But when addressing the company staff on some changes within the structure of the organization and his plans, he is stunned when none other than Tracy (Amanda Detmer), that’s previously referred to and known as “White Tracy’” (due to her crack addiction), shows up with a soapy bombshell during the meeting.

The mother of Andre’s deceased half-brother, Jeff Kingsley saunters in and announces, “I’m Empire’s newest co-owner!”   And with that, season six begins its arc with a battle for control that will be front and center.

Tracy wants payback and has an ax to grind.  In the season 5 finale, she told the Lyon clan that her decision to donate her son’s heart to save Andre would come with strings attached, but did anyone expect she would go this far?  Yup!  Watch the teaser below for Tuesday’s night’s first episode of the  final season.

Meanwhile, the season six key art featuring series stars: Taraji P Henson (Cookie) and Terrence Howard  (Luscious) in the same position as the famous scene in the motion picture Titanic has with it the saying “Rule to the end”.   Who will be left standing when the series comes to its exciting and emotional conclusion?

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Now let us know, what do you think of the Tracy twist? Share your thoughts via the comment section.

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‘Empire’ Final Season: Official Word No Jussie Smollett, Vivica A Fox To Series Regular, Spin-Offs Possible After Series Concludes

Plenty of news coming out of the Fox TCA panels and executive session.  Most notable was drama surrounding the sixth and final season of the sudsy Empire.

According to Fox CEO Charlie Collier when talk of potential spin-offs of the series came up: “We’re in the Lee Daniels and Danny Strong business — if there is more story to tell we want to hear it.”  Collier, referencing the series creators.

Photo: JPI

Collier also noted that a big send-off is planned for the series as its heads to its final episodes.  In addition, the CEO officially revealed after all the speculation that Jussie Smollett (Ex-Jamal Lyon), would not be returning to Empire for its final season.

Charlie noted, “There’s no plan for Jussie to return.”  Smollett got in trouble with the law in Chicago back in January, over an alleged hate crime, the actor claimed was perpetrated on him, when later he was charged for setting the whole thing up himself, and later those charges later dropped,   But Jussie’s problems with the Windy City are continuing hot and heavy this week.

Finally, soap opera favorite, Vivica A. Fox (Generations, DAYS) has been upped to series regular in her role as Candace.  As Empire viewers know, Candace is the older sister to Cookie Lyon, played by Taraji P. Henson.

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So, would you like to see an Empire spin-off?  Happy or sad that Jussie Smollett is not coming back to the series before it says goodbye/ Looking forward to more Vivica? Comment below.

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Jussie Smollett Will Not Return To ‘Empire’ Relates Lee Daniels; 911 Call Released Of His Alleged Attack

The co-creator of Fox’s sudsy Empire, Lee Daniels, confirmed yesterday that actor/singer Jussie Smollett will not return to the series for its final season, after the renewal pick-up of the show’s sixth and final season was announced, where it left Smollett’s fate with the series a big ambiguous.

How the final blow of any possibility of Smollett’s return came to light was when Daniels was responding to a Variety report in which multiple production sources said that writing staff was breaking ideas for the final season with the expectation that Smollett would appear in the back half of the 18 planned episodes. However, Daniels strongly expressed upon that item that: “Jussie will NOT be returning to Empire.”

Smollett was written out of the final episodes of the show’s fifth season in the aftermath and backlash stemming from that he faked a hate crime against himself earlier this year in Chicago.

In addition on Wednesday, the city of Chicago (TMZ had already beat them to it) released 911 calls where a friend of Smollett’s called for help following his alleged attack.  A man (later identified as Smollett’s manager, Frank Gatson) said he “works with an artist” told the  operator that the victim did not want to file a report with authorities, but he was going to ‘make’ him.”

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The caller added that the victim said the attackers put a noose around his neck expressing: “What’s really weird ma’m, just ‘cus I’m scared and I don’t know what it is, they put a noose around his neck.  They didn’t do anything with it, but put it around his neck. That’s pretty f—d up to me — sorry for saying it like that.”

A second 911 call was apparently made 15 minutes later after the police had not yet responded to the first call, where the caller said about Smollett, “He was jumped on the street and we’re just trying to report it.”

So, what do you think of the news that Smollett is definitely out of the final season of Empire? What do you think of the 911 call? Share your thoughts via the comment section below.

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