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Empire

EMPIRE Season 2: Can The Hit Fox Soap Opera Avoid The Sophomore Slump & Continue To Increase Ratings And Ad Revenue?

Courtesy/FOX

Courtesy/FOX

It would be almost impossible for Empire to fall that far from grace!  Fox’s hit primetime soap broke all records in the ratings in its first season.  The creative team has worked tirelessly behind the scenes bringing the drama, and the music to this already huge brand!

There are also plenty of highly-touted guest stars that will emerge this season on the canvas.  Empire returns Wednesday night beginning at 9PMEST/8CST.  But still the question remains: can the show outperform it’s record-breaking season with the network looking to increase viewership and ad revenue … or, will it take a dip?

TV Guide spoke to Empire showrunner Ilene Chaiken about any sophomore jinxes and jitters. Many a show has fallen to the dreaded sophomore slump, but could that even happen to Empire?   Chaiken related to TVG:  “I’d be lying if I said I didn’t feel a little bit of pressure. But once we sat down and started working, the only thing I feel is the need to dig deep and try to break great stories and write great stories and produce good episodes.””

In an article with ADWeek they relate on expectations for the performance of Empire’s second season:  “We have high expectations for how it’s going to perform,” said Gary Newman, co-CEO and co-chairman of Fox Television Group. “Will the show stay as hot as it was in Season 1? I think it’s inevitable that it won’t be as hot. It will perform great, but nothing remains a phenomenon for that long.  So, we have to be realistic about our expectation levels. But the material that we’ve seen so far has been great. We feel confident that we have the goods this year.”

ADWeek also added:  “While the network feels like its marketing plan is as solid as Season 2’s episodes, one thing is out of its hands—the inevitability of some kind of backlash, which seems to follow every TV show’s meteoric rise. Already, there has been some audience grumbling about the number of high-profile guest stars on tap: Empire’s premiere episode includes appearances from Marisa Tomei, Chris Rock, Kelly Rowland and Al Sharpton, with Chris “Ludacris” Bridges and Pitbull set for subsequent weeks.

However, Fox insists, that the show’s producers will be able to sidestep any land mines. “We have a lot of conversations with our creators about how the shiny object of a guest cast member should never distract from what’s going on with our characters that have connected with this audience who they love,” commented Dana Walden, co-chairman and co-CEO, Fox Television Group.

As for the key storylines – brothers Hakeem (Bryshere Gray) and Jamal (Jussie Smollett) will be at major odds as the season starts, according to Chaiken: “There’s a lot of love between them, but they go at one another. And there’s a strain created by the fact that Jamal got the throne. That’s something that Hakeem always thought he was entitled to and destined for. He has a lot to prove, some of it will be at Jamal’s expense.”

And as for what happens with Lucious (Terrence Howard) behind bars, and when he gets out and seeks his revenge for ending up in the slammer in the first place, Chaiken teased:  “I think the combination of no longer living with a death sentence, and then having faced life in prison is going to leave Lucious more ferocious, more calculating, less forgiving than before. It just reinvigorates him for the fight.”

Lucious war on his ex-wife will also put her son Jamal and Cookie (Taraji P. Henson) at opposite sides of the fence!  That also will open the door for a new potential squeeze for Cookie when Adam Rodriguez makes his debut in the new role of Laz Delagado.

Finally, let’s not forget Andre (Trai Byers )and Rhonda (Kaitlin Doubleday)!  In the season one finale; she has a baby on the way, he has mental issues, and they are now covering up a murder! How will this play out?  Stay tuned!

So, do you think Empire will pick up where it left off with unparalleled ratings?  Do you think it will take a bit of a tumble?  What storypoints are you most interrested in seeing play out?   Share your comments beloww!

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Geoffrey-Martin Cyr
Geoffrey-Martin Cyr

I guess I am one of only a dozen people on the planet that couldn’t care less about this show; both the subject matter, musical score and content never appealed to me!! I am usually a fan of what Lee Daniels produces, but exposure to the narcissism of Taraji/Cookie turned my stomach from day one. (I was curious if it was just the character of “Cookie” or the persona of Taraji that I found so grating … but the more I saw interviews with Ms. Henson (esp. this weekend’s Emmy telecast), her need to be stroked and adored (“Look at me, look at me!”) just totally is a turn-off to me and I couldn’t stomach a series where she played such a prominent role.)

Jonboy
Jonboy

Wow! Cookie makes the whole show IMO.

Geoffrey-Martin Cyr
Geoffrey-Martin Cyr

Yeah; I guess that’s my whole point. The fact that that character/actress is so heavily spotlighted is a real testament to how television has changed to now showcase and celebrate badly-behaved, morally-corrupted ‘role models’ who are given a platform to spin-out and implode to the amusement of the greater masses. It’s where we’ve landed as a society, and I fuilly ‘get’ I’m in the silent minority on this. Until the tide shifts, we’ll continue to see more HOUSEWIVES, Kardashians and Duck Dynasty litter our screens and appeal to the basest forms of society. (I guess we’ll see if the ratings reflect their success of if viewers eventually tire of this sort of ‘entertainment’…)

Jeremy
Jeremy

yup, Cookie/Taraji IS EMPIRE. she’s brilliant. can’t wait for S2.

Jonboy
Jonboy

I hardly compare a scripted series to reality garbage.

Torqumada
Torqumada

Love this show. The cast the writing EVERYTHING.

I worry that it will suffer from too many guest stars and stunts. Great characters need room to maneuver.

su0000
su0000

An Empire fan here ! 🙂
The first season will be its’ highest ratings. Seems that is the way it rolls.
but- Empire will always be up and doing very well.
With Empire it is the younger viewers, the demo the sponsors crave.
Most older people will not be that into Empire, my grandma would not like it, not at all lol
Empire will a have high 18-40 demo.. and it doesn’t get any better than that..

Jonboy
Jonboy

Not thrilled that they feel the need for all these guest stars (Al Sharpton? Really?)

su0000
su0000

huh?
Al Sharpton? really?
that is so lame lol
twitter will let it be known ..

Jane
Jane

Why does it need ALL the hype IF it’s floored everyone. My show is the middle to watch oh and Blood and Oil.

su0000
su0000

Empire gets the ”hype” because it HAS ”floored everyone” ..

looking forward to ”Blood and Oil” , also..
Looks like a great fall season..

((June and Ward Cleaver RIP ..

penny
penny

It delivered! I love this show and the WHOLE cast. Cookie is my favorite because Taraji is so great at portraying her. She’s the sweetest person in real life but a tigress on the show. I love how real she is in interviews. You get the real deal with Taraji not some fake persona just to please people who don’t give two shyts about you.

Anacarrie
Anacarrie

I agree, Penny. Taraji rocks!

k/kay
k/kay

I have never watched this show but I do know this when you have actors who demonstrate bad behavior think Terrance Howard beating up all his wives it tends to turn people off. When a actor or a politician or a athlete shows bad character it does it for me I am done no matter how good you are at what you do.

Geoffrey-Martin Cyr
Geoffrey-Martin Cyr

Exactly, k/kay … you hit it on the head for me: no matter how talented actresses Taraji Henson, Kerry Washington or Jane Lynch may be, their collective ball-busting, in-your-face, aggressive unpolished personas so totally turn me off, I will NEVER watch anything any of them do. JMO (I get that that group has a LOT of fans, but I ain’t one of them…)

Anacarrie
Anacarrie

I love the show and the cast. It is my weekly guilty pleasure. More, more, more!

Breaking News

TEEN CHOICE AWARDS: ‘This Is Us’, ‘Empire’ & Actors Sterling K. Brown, Chrissy Metz, Jussie Smollett Score Nods

On Wednesday, the nominees for those ‘way cool’ surfboard trophies at the upcoming 2018 Teen Choice Awards were revealed.  The ceremony will air live on FOX on Sunday August 12th at 8/7c live from Los Angeles.

The awards voted on by fans for their favorites in television, movies and music kicked off the determination of the winners today. Fans have the chance to vote up to ten times a day on each platform: Twitter and at TeenChoice.com up until June 19.  For Twitter, viewers can tweet a category hashtag along with the nominee’s name for the vote to be counted.

In the television categories, Riverdale and the just cancelled Shadowhunters led the nominations. but a few of your favorite primetime soapy dramas also came away with nominations in the major categories … This Is Us, and Empire.  In addition, Sterling K. Brown (Randall) and Chrissy Metz (Kate) scored acting nominations for This Is Us, while Jussie Smollett (Jamal) received an acting nod for Empire.

Check out these main TV drama categories below and remember to vote.

Choice Drama TV Show (#ChoiceDramaTVShow)
Empire
Famous in Love
Riverdale
Star
The Fosters
This Is Us

Choice Drama TV Actor (#ChoiceDramaTVActor)
Cole Sprouse — Riverdale
Freddie Highmore — The Good Doctor
Jesse Williams — Grey’s Anatomy
Jussie Smollett — Empire
K.J. Apa — Riverdale
Sterling K. Brown — This Is Us

Choice Drama TV Actress (#ChoiceDramaTVActress)
Bella Thorne — Famous in Love
Camila Mendes — Riverdale
Chrissy Metz — This Is Us
Lili Reinhart — Riverdale
Maia Mitchell — The Fosters
Ryan Destiny — Star

So, which show from the nominees do you think the voters will chose for Choice Drama TV Show, Actor and Actress?  Let us know in the comment section below!

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Empire

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!

Courtesy/FOX

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.

Courtesy/FOX

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

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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