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Fox's EMPIRE Concludes First Season With Over 17 Million Viewers Watching Finale & EP Ilene Chaiken Weighs-In On All The Shocking Twists!

Courtesy/FOX

Courtesy/FOX

Empire continued its record-setting first season on television with a soapalicious two-hour season finale that aired on Wednesday night on Fox.

When the dust was settled, the show was watched by over 17 million viewers and the show averaged  a 6.9 rating and 17.6 million in its regular 9 o’clock hour (which will count in season averages). The 6.9 rating, was just a tick below last week’s  The Walking Dead on AMC, and is the highest for any regularly scheduled broadcast drama since CSI on CBS in October 2008!

Now as for the drama last night, did we not love the performances of Jussie Smollett (Jamal), Taraji B. Henson (Cookie) and Terrence Howard (Lucious)? Showrunner Ilene Chaiken chatted it up with EW.com post-finale to give insight into the storyline decisions which featured a death, a pregnancy, and someone ending up in the slammer!  And, we learned just which one of Lucious son was handed the Empire … for now.  And in one of the best catfights in primetime soap history, Boo Boo Kitty and Cookie went at it, and we mean, went. at. it!

In story, viewers learned that Lucious ALS diagnosis was a mistake! He actually has Myasthenia Gravis .  Was it the plan all along, or did they change his medical condition midstream?  Chaiken revealed: “Yep, from the very beginning … of course we talked about the ALS and what’s going to happen because Terrence is the star of the show. And co-creator Danny Strong said, ‘Well I always thought it would be a misdiagnosis.  And I said, ‘Really?’ And he said, ‘Yeah.’ In the room, we talked about whether or not that was the best story solution and in the end we thought, ‘Yeah let’s just go for it! We researched it extensively to make sure it was credible. But it’s actually quite supportable with research.”‘

Courtesy/FOX

As for if Jamal was the Lyon son who would lay claim to the empire, and show his dark side in the finale by almost killing someone on a balcony, Chaiken admitted, “That was not quite so planned. But what (creators) Lee Daniels and Danny put forward in that same group of meetings was we look at him like a Michael Corleone character. We want to see him rise to the occasion, surprise everyone by being the most cunning, the most gangster at the end of the day.”

The catfight between Anika (Grace Gealey) and Cookie was indeed a riff on the Dynasty fights of old between Alexis (Joan Collins) and Krystal (Linda Evans)! Ilene stated, “It was truly an homage to Dynasty in that way and for that we owe Lee.  Lee is the devotee of Dynasty who’s always said, ‘I want this to be that.’ I delivered the first draft of the script and that scene was there but the catfight wasn’t there. Lee read the script and said to me, ‘Ilene I want my catfight.’  Taraji then read that scene and came to me and said, ‘Cookie’s been in prison for 17 years—I would clock her and she’d be out.”‘

At the end of the finale, Lucious finally gets arrested for the murder of Bunkie as someone turned him in, but who? In the very last seconds of the episode when behind bars, a vengeful Lucious utters out loud,”Game on, Bitches!”  And that according to Chaikenwas improved by Terrence Howard.  The creative team loved it so much that they kept it in and it was the perfect button on a whirlwind soapy season.

So, what was your favorite moment on last night’s season final of Empire …  the catfight? Jamal ascending to the head of the empire,  Cookie trying to snuff out Lucious with a pillow?  Lucious final words from jail? Vernon (Malik Yoba) getting clubbed over the head by a now pregnant Rhonda (Kaitlin Doubleday) and dying?  Watch a recap of OMG Moments in the Empire video recap below.  Then, share your thoughts!

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davlestev1
davlestev1

I haven’t even finished the article and just had to say MichaelFairman KNOCK IT OFF…LMAO…Boo Boo Kitty and Cookie went at it…you got some street in you to son…ROFLMAO…now let me fininsh this article.

davlestev1
davlestev1

There were so many jaw dropping hand to mouth out loud exclamations at the TV…like that knock to the head of MalikYoba and while they were talking and not showing the outcome I was saying outloud..he dead…she killed him…lol

Scott (ATWT Fan)
Scott (ATWT Fan)

The first hour was more entertaining than the second, but over-all it was one flawless season finale. Being on season two!

Mo
Mo

The catfight was awesome, but I too thought that Cookie, who’d been in prison and would have learned a few things, would have come out on top more.

Loved when Lucious gave Cookie a pillow as a gift.

There was a lot put in the show. I think they have too many guest performances. And it’s like they said, okay, we have Jennifer Hudson, now let’s try to work her in rather than saying, we have this role, let’s find someone for it. Dial down all the cameos and I think it will be better. The show doesn’t need the ‘stars’. It’s good with the regulars and the writing. Although, I hope Hakeem takes acting lessons during the hiatus.

Annie
Annie

I have watched the entire season, and loved it (much to my surprise!), but I felt the season finale was the first episode that was a letdown. First, the scene where Jamal is holding Beretti over the balcony was laughable. I did not buy it AT ALL. I guess because Jamal now sings every song with a sneer on his face we’re supposed to believe he’s suddenly a badass? We have seen no sign of this up to this point, so it was a complete character change. And where were Beretti’s bodyguards through all of that? Lucious and his entourage had no trouble finding them, so that just wasn’t believable.

Second, it made no sense that in a matter of a few minutes, Cookie would go from trying to kill Anika to agreeing that she should be a part of the takeover gang. No way. I know she supposedly has “contacts” and they supposedly needed her, but again, I just didn’t buy it. Wouldn’t they at least consider that she would run right back to Beretti with the information, or worse, Lucious?

Third, what the heck with the Jennifer Hudson character? I thought she was supposed to be a music therapist, but they spend no time in therapy, she’s clearly very religious and seems to be getting through to Andre through God, and then with one word from Lucious, all of that is over? He whole story arc had “gimmick” written all over it. I agree with Mo that they should keep the cameos to a minimum and focus on the Lyons.

Finally, the Anika/Hakeem hookup was gross, that had a real ick factor to it.

All in all, I still love the series and maybe I was expecting too much for the finale. Still looking forward to season 2.

Anacarrie
Anacarrie

I loved the finale overall but I agreed with everything you said about Jamal becoming an overnight gangsta; the lack of bodyguards and Cookie teaming up with Anika. Because she’d rather get back in cahoots with Lucious then team up with Boo Boo Kitty.

Rebecca1
Rebecca1

I agree with a lot if what u said, as well. To add to that, I find it strange that Cookie went from seemingly still loving Lucious, seething with jealousy and resentment toward Anika, having sex with him and hopes of getting back together, seeming broken hearted when he revealed he was dying…to trying to literally kill him. I understood her anger, resentment, etc., still, I thought the bond went deeper than that.

I also thought Cookie could wipe the floor with Anika…but I think they wanted a good old-fashioned soapy cat fight is they overlooked that ” little” detail.

As for names…I agree. Unneeded…worse when Oprah makes her debut….so not necessary.

kevin
kevin

Personally I liked the Lucious/Jamal music bonding bit myself.

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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Next week on Y&R, Hilary is fighting for her life, but the prognosis is not good. Friends and loved ones come to the hospital and ask for forgiveness and to tell her to fight. But how can she? Watch the latest promo from CBS Daytime below. Leave A Comment

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