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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.”

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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.

Empire

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

‘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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Empire

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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Y&&’s Eileen Davidson and her husband Vincent Van Patten chat with Michael Fairman about their new film “7 Days to Vegas”, her time on Y&R, DAYS, The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills and their relationship. Leave A Comment

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