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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!



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 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.”‘


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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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.

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

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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


Taraji P. Henson Says She Fired Her Entire Team After They Failed to Capitalize on Her Success as ‘Empire’s’ Cookie Lyon

When Fox’s hit primetime soap opera, Empire, hit the air it became a smash hit, especially due to its lead female character, Cookie Lyon, as played by Taraji P. Henson.

The actress played Cookie for all she was worth and the some becoming one of the more original soap and television characters. After all, Cookie went to jail for 17 years before being released, and was the wife of former drug dealer, now music mogul, Lucious Lyon played by Terrence Howard.

Now, Taraji revealed all was not kosher behind the scenes during a sit-down interview for the SAG-AFTRA Foundation (see below). It was there, she revealed that she had to fire her entire PR team and more, because of how they failed to capitalize on her rousing success at the time as Cookie.

Photo: Fox

The moment came about during the Q&A Henson was asked what was the best business decision she ever made.  She swiftly answered: “Firing everybody after Cookie,” adding, “Everybody had to f**ing’ go. Where is my deal? Where’s my commercial? Cookie was at the top of the fashion game. Where is my endorsement? What did you have set up for after this? That’s why you all haven’t seen me in so long. They had nothing set up.”

Empire fans recall that a ‘Cookie’ prequel had been in the works to continue the character after the series was canceled after six seasons, but nothing happened. At the time reports shared, Danny Strong, co-creator of the Empire was said to be co-writing the series, and it would come through Henson’s new production banner.

Taraji explained what went down behind the scenes: “All they wanted was another Cookie show, and I said, ‘I’ll do it, but it has to be right. The people deserve, she’s to beloved for y’all to f**k it up.’ And so, when they didn’t get it right, I was like, ‘Well, that’s it,’ and they had nothing else. ‘You’re all f**ng fired.”

Photo: JPI

Henson added that she felt like she had Stockholm Syndrome from the entire situation, which is defines as a syndrome ‘where hostages sometimes develop a psychological bond with their captors.’ (Think Kevin, Y&R!) The moral of Henson’s story was to make sure the people you pay and who work for you, understand that you are the talent and nothing happens without you including them collecting a paycheck off you.

Henson can currently be seen in the musical version of The Color People in movie theatres everywhere.

Check out her emotional and enlightening conversation with the SAG-AFTRA Foundation below.

Now let us know, do you think Cookie Lyon was one of the best TV characters and should have either been spun off into her own show, or Henson should have appeared in more commercial and endorsement deals given the popularity of the character? Weigh-in via the comment section.

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Jussie Smollett Releases New Rap Single ‘Thank You God’ Speaking On the Injustice of His Court Case

Now that former Empire star, Jussie Smollett (Ex-Jamal Lyon) is out of jail while appealing his conviction for the 2019 Chicago hate crime hoax, in which he was at the epicenter, the singer/actor wasted no time dropping a rap single.

On his Instagram account, Smollett posted a short clip of a new rap song, which speaks about his court case and the injustices brought down upon him by the system.

The track entitled,“Thank You God,” features Smollett rapping lyrics like: “You think I’m stupid enough to kill my reputation?”  He also raps, that there will come a day when he can sit down and talk with his followers.  He gives a mention to “D.L.” who many believe is CNN anchor, Don Lemon, who was originally one of Smollett’s main advocates.

Jussie served 10 days of jail time of his sentence of 150 days before being released . He also has 30 months of probation ahead of him and was ordered to pay $120,106 to the city of Chicago and a $25,000 fine for his actions.

Smollett says any funds raised for “Thank You God” will be donated to the Illinois Innocence Project, Rainbow Push, Secure The Bag Safety.

Check out Jussie’s Instagram post containing the rap below/

Now let us know, what do you think about Smollett releasing this track and still defending his innocence? Comment below.


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Breaking News

‘Empire’ Star, Jussie Smollett, Sentenced to 150 Days In Jail For Fake Hate Crime Attack

Late Thursday, former Empire actor and singer, Jussie Smollett, was sentenced in Chicago more than three months after being found guilty on five felony counts to the alleged 2019 hate crime hoax that made national headlines, and got the actor fired from the former Fox primetime drama series.

In the sentencing, Smollett was sentenced to 150 days starting immediately.  In addition, he received 30 months’ probation, and has to pay the city of Chicago $120,106 in restitution, plus Jussie received an additional $25,000 fine.

Cook County Judge James Linn, who levied the sentence, came down hard in his words on Smollett due his actions noting he was, “selfish, arrogant and narcissistic.”  The judge added, “You wanted to make yourself more famous throwing a national pity party for yourself. You’re just a charlatan, pretending to be the victim of a hate crime.”

Linn went in on Smollett for his ‘performance’ and ‘pure perjury’ when the actor took to the witness stand in his own defense last year.

At the end of his sentencing, Smollett pulled down his mask to speak. He then let everyone in the courtroom know that he feels he is innocent, adding, “Your honor, I respect you and I respect the jury, but I did not do this. And I am not suicidal. And if anything happens to me when I go in there, I did not do it to myself. And you must all know that.”

Just before he was taken into custody, Smollett yelled again that he was innocent and raised a fist in the air as he exited.

Watch the sentencing of Jussie Smollett below, then weigh-in.  Did Smollett get enough of a sentence for his crime? Share your thoughts via the comment section.

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