It’s been decades since a TV show has been as addictive as Fox’s Empire. It debuted in January to a 3.8 rating and last week’s episode drew a spectacular 5.8 rating and cemented its status as a bona fide pop culture phenomenon. Ahead of its season finale tonight, co-creator Danny Strong discusses the show’s record rise, controversies, backlash and more.
As co-chairman and co-CEO of Fox Television Group, Dana Walden, alongside partner Gary Newman, now oversees both Fox Broadcasting Co. and 20th Century Fox Television, which Walden (who started there in 1992) has run with Newman since 1999. But when she and Newman took over the network last summer, they received a baptism by fire. Aside from Gotham, audiences rejected all of Fox’s new fall shows. Then, hip-hop drama Empire, from Walden’s studio, wiped the slate clean in January, becoming the biggest new series in decades. Walden talks about surviving Fox’s fall to forget and how she’ll capitalize on Empire‘s success.
Fox’s hip hop drama was once again the top program of the night, lifting the network to an easy victory Wednesday night.
The Fox drama Empire is by far TV’s No. 1 scripted show with women 18-49. Last week it rated with that demo a full point ahead the demo’s second favorite show, The Big Bang Theory.
There is no doubt where Fox stands on the new show Empire. After just two episodes, the new drama has been given a second-season pickup, a sign of what high hopes the network has for the program. The network also renewed two other shows over the weekend, second-year comedy Brooklyn Nine-Nine and first-year drama Gotham.
The two shows air back-to-back on Wednesday nights. Empire has been a success out of the box, already earning an order for a second season, while age has cost American Idol its long-time status of television’s biggest show.
Fox is letting the music play this January, with the return of American Idol and the debut of drama Empire slated for Wednesday, Jan. 7. Idol is kicking off its 14th season a week earlier than usual, and Empire, a family drama set in the music industry starring Terrence Howard and Taraji P. Henson, will follow with a premiere that Fox says will include limited commercial interruption.
Lee Daniels, the director of Lee Daniels’ The Butler and Precious, is writing, directing and producing Empire, starring Terence Howard and Taraji P. Henson, Fox said. Steven Spielberg is among the producers of Red Band Society for Fox, with an ensemble cast starring Octavia Spencer. NBC orders sitcom Marry Me starring Casey Wilson and Ken Marino; Allegiance, with Hope Davis and Scott Cohen; State of Affairs with Alfre Woodard; and drama Odyssey with Anna Friel and Peter Facinelli.