Airdate: Empire

Originally due for ELEVEN, TEN promotes hip hop music drama to its primary channel.

2015-01-29_1059TEN has had a rethink over the critically-acclaimed hip hop music drama Empire.

Update: Originally due to air on ELEVEN, it will now screen on TEN from 10pm Sunday February 15.

The series about the control of a family-owned music company features Luscious Lyon, Taraji P. Henson, Bryshere Gray, Jussie Smollett, Trai Byers, and guest stars Gabourey Sidibe.

The timeslot probably suggests Gogglebox will settle into an 8:30pm timeslot given it launches at 9pm a week earlier.

From Academy Award nominee Lee Daniels (Lee Daniels’ The Butler, Precious) and Emmy Award winner Danny Strong (Lee Daniels’ The Butler, Game Change), comes Empire, a sexy and powerful new drama about the head of a music empire whose three sons and ex-wife all battle for his throne.

Lucious Lyon (Academy Award nominee Terrence Howard, Crash, Hustle & Flow) is the king of hip-hop. An immensely talented artist, the CEO of Empire Entertainment and a former street thug, his reign has remained unchallenged for years. But all that changes, when he learns he has a disease that is going to render him crippled and incapacitated in just three years. The clock is ticking, and he must groom one of his three sons to take over, without destroying his already fractured family.

Lucious’ favourite is his youngest son, Hakeem (Bryshere Gray), a gifted musician and spoiled playboy who values fame overhard work. Middle son, Jamal (Jussie Smollett, North, The Mighty Ducks), is a sensitive soul and a musical prodigy who, unlike Hakeem, shies away from the spotlight. Jamal also happens to be gay, which infuriates and embarrasses his father. Andre (Trai Byers, 90210), the eldest son, is CFO of Empire Entertainment. Wharton-educated with a brilliant business mind, Andre lacks the charisma that Lucious believes is crucial to running the company. But in his quest for power, Andre is assisted by his manipulative and like-minded wife, Rhonda (Kaitlin Doubleday, Hung, Catch Me If You Can).

As Lucious prompts his sons to vie for the empire, his plans are thrown into chaos when his ex-wife, Cookie (Academy Award and Emmy Award nominee Taraji P. Henson, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Person of Interest), mysteriously emerges seven years early from prison, where she has been for almost two decades. Brash and fearless, she sees herself as the sacrificial lamb who built an empire with Lucious and then took the fall for running the drugs that financed Lucious’ early career.

For now, Lucious remains firmly in control of Empire Entertainment. He is attended to by his hard-working assistant, Becky (guest star and Academy Award nominee Gabourey Sidibe, American Horror Story, Precious), and relies on long-time friend and Chairman of the Board Vernon Turner (Malik Yoba, Revolution, Girlfriends) for advice and support. He relies on a whole lot more from Anika Gibbons (newcomer Grace Gealey), the head of A&R for Empire Entertainment and his current girlfriend.

As the Lyons slug it out, an emotional chess game begins that will lead to either the family’s destruction or redemption. Lives and loves will be lost as the complicated family come together and fall apart over the elusive throne. Will the family unite and learn to love each other before it’s too late?

9:30pm February 19 TEN.

20 Responses

  1. I doubt this show would take off in an earlier timeslot anyway and I believe putting it on Ten at 9:30 rather than Eleven is a good call.

    The trend of Australians switching off African American casts is sadly to a most part true, as many top rating US shows such as Scandal have flopped, airing as late as midnight on Seven, despite being ABC’s #1 series. Hopefully How To Get Away with Murder might put an end to this trend.

    Empire actually tied How To Get Away With Murder for the highest rated series premiere of the season in the US.

    @Gonzo I doubt that issue exists in the states, many top rating network dramas with partly African American casts have rated quite well, including this show, which has been quite a break for the struggling FOX.

  2. Well, you should take a look at the black American dramas that have been genuine hits in the States, as there’s only a handful and most of them worked here too..

    Cosby, Fresh Prince – timing could be good for this as it doesn’t seem too tailored for a mass audience which has been US Network TVs problem with drama for at least 5 years – and is problem here too really.

    If promoted well, it may do better business than Wonderland.

  3. I also think they should not put Goggle Box before this. They should be making a serious play for Thursdays which is very doable if you take stock of the battlefield.

    Don’t know where you put Goggle, but don’t sacrifice a night where you could possibly achieve something. Certainly not 8.30. let’s face it – it will be a Foxtel promotion vehicle and probably not funny as opposed to the UK version.

    Bachelor (which won’t be ready), a more MA ep of I’m A Celeb appropriate for 8.30’s, Wonderland, i don’t know… If they had more Offspring or Puberty, that would have been a Thursday winning line up.

  4. This is killing it in the ratings in the States.

    Not only one of Fox’s highest rating shows in years, it’s one of the highest rating new dramas on US network TV in a number of years – and is puling big numbers in key demos.

    I actually think it’s a pretty good slot on the primary channel for this type of show.

    Ten should air the Fox extended promo. Bit corny IMO, but watch it do the business.

  5. @tvf
    Madam Secretary only had 2 eps in Jan due to NFL playoff and doesn’t return till March in the US.

    So it can’t be part of Ten’s rating season lineup in Feb. Ten will fit in somewhere.

  6. Ten are hoping that younger people will watch TV on Thursday night when there is little else on. It’s probably MA show can’t be shown before 9:30pm.

    This usually fails but what would be better? In the Monday night death slot up against MKR/How To…Murder (or whatever Seven goes with) or The Block/Gallipoli? With NCIS as a lead in on Tuesdays, in place of The Good Wife?

    At least it starts on Ten and has a chance, and if it gets bumped to Eleven then it will have a larger audience there.

  7. Excellent news, but this really deserves an 8.30 timeslot. Ten desperately need a new drama hit, and its unlikely to succeed at 9.30pm. New dramas hardly ever succeed at 9.30pm, its really only territory for established shows.

    Ten should swap this with SVU on Mondays.

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