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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
Guest
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… Read more »

Jonboy
Guest
Jonboy

Wow! Cookie makes the whole show IMO.

Geoffrey-Martin Cyr
Guest
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… Read more »

Jeremy
Guest
Jeremy

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

Jonboy
Guest
Jonboy

I hardly compare a scripted series to reality garbage.

Torqumada
Guest
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
Guest
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
Guest
Jonboy

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

su0000
Guest
su0000

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

Jane
Guest
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
Guest
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
Guest
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
Guest
Anacarrie

I agree, Penny. Taraji rocks!

k/kay
Guest
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
Guest
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
Guest
Anacarrie

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

Breaking News

‘Empire’s’ Diamond White Lands Contract Role on The Bold and the Beautiful

Look for The Bold and the Beautiful to add to their cast with news on Thursday that Diamond White (previously see on Empire as Lala) will take on the role of Zoe’s (Kiara Barnes)sister, Paris Buckingham on the CBS daytime drama.

Paris and Zoe are the daughters of crime-ridden Dr. Reese Buckingham (Wayne Brady) who was sent to the slammer for his baby-switch plot involving baby Beth and his gambling debts.

White will begin taping her new role tomorrow on Friday, and will first are on the November 2nd episode of B&B.  Deadline first reported the news.

Besides her role on Empire, Diamond has had a recurring role on Netflix’s Dear White People, as well as a guest art on ABC’s Fresh off the Boat, and more,

Looks like the Buckingham sisters might have their eyes set on Carter (Lawrence Saint-Victor) , the incoming Zende (Delon de Metz) and who knows who else on the canvas!

So, what do you think about a new Buckingham in the mix on B&B? Comment below.

 

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Breaking News

Taraji P. Henson Developing Cookie Lyon ‘Empire’ Spinoff With New First-Look Deal Via 20th Century Fox

Looks like more ‘Cookie’ is on the way, if this long bantered about Empire spinoff takes place.  But, news today via Deadline makes the whole thing look more promising! Series star, Taraji P. Henson has signed a new first-look deal with 20th Century Fox where she would star and be one of the EP’s of the new show.

The show would be written by Empire EP Danny Strong with Stacy A. Littlejohn and Yolonda Lawrence, and Empire director Sanaa Hamri to take those reins again behind the camera.

Henson said in a statement on the deal: “I believe that normalizing stories around stigmatizing matters will make them more palatable for audiences to embrace.  Art can change perception and I plan to develop projects that can help further the conversation.  I also aim to help cultivate and establish new young talent and their stories because they are our future and deserve a voice and a platform to be heard. I’m so excited to have 20th, led by the talented Carolyn Cassidy, support me in this new endeavor!”

20th Century Fox TV president Carolyn Cassidy shared on Thursday: “We were lucky to have a front row seat to Taraji’s meteoric rise as a fixture on television through Empire.  Through that relationship everyone at the company grew to appreciate her passion for storytelling and her strong creative gut instinct. With Empire finished we look forward to helping her explore stories that need to be told through her talent and advocacy.”

Empire ended its sixth and final season a bit shorter than expected due to COVID-19 shutting down production, but now Henson has a way forward to tell us more of Cookie’s story.  This would just be one of the projects Henson would have under this deal with 20th Century Fox.

So, would you like to see more Cookie Lyon in a spinoff of Empire? Comment below.

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Breaking News

‘Empire’ star Bryshere Gray Arrested On Domestic Violence Charges After Allegedly Assaulting Wife

More legal trouble for the Lyon children of Fox’s former show Empire.   Now comes word that Bryshere Gray, who played Hakeem Lyon, was arrested near Phoenix on Monday after his wife told authorities he had assaulted her for hours and preceded to choke her unconscious at their home in Goodyear, Arizona on Sunday night.

Police arrested Gray early Monday outside his home, and related that the actor initially refused to come out of the house, so a SWAT team was employed and crisis negotiations experts were called on to the scene.

Gray was later taken into custody and booked at the infamous Maricopa Country Jail on charges of domestic violence.

As to the events that precipitated Bryshere’s arrest: initially police responded to a 911 call Sunday night, where the caller said that an adult female allegedly told him that she has been assaulted multiple times by her husband inside their home.  She then names herself as Bryshere Gray’s wife and Gray as the suspect.

Later via a press release, police said the woman had flagged down a bystander at a local gas station and told the driver that she had been assaulted for several hours. Police said she clearly was injured and told them her husband had choked her to the point where she lost consciousness. The woman was treated for non-life-threatening injuries at a local hospital and later released.

Gray appeared in all six seasons of Empire and landed BET,  NAACP Image and Teen Choice awards during his run.

Check out the mug shot below of Gray’s arrest via a tweet put out by the Goodyear Police Department below.  TMZ first reported the news.

So, what do you think of the domestic violence charges against Gray? Comment below.

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