It would be almost impossible for Empire to fall that far from grace! Fox’s hit primetime soap broke all records in the ratings in its first season. The creative team has worked tirelessly behind the scenes bringing the drama, and the music to this already huge brand!
There are also plenty of highly-touted guest stars that will emerge this season on the canvas. Empire returns Wednesday night beginning at 9PMEST/8CST. But still the question remains: can the show outperform it’s record-breaking season with the network looking to increase viewership and ad revenue … or, will it take a dip?
TV Guide spoke to Empire showrunner Ilene Chaiken about any sophomore jinxes and jitters. Many a show has fallen to the dreaded sophomore slump, but could that even happen to Empire? Chaiken related to TVG: “I’d be lying if I said I didn’t feel a little bit of pressure. But once we sat down and started working, the only thing I feel is the need to dig deep and try to break great stories and write great stories and produce good episodes.”"
In an article with ADWeek they relate on expectations for the performance of Empire’s second season: “We have high expectations for how it’s going to perform,” said Gary Newman, co-CEO and co-chairman of Fox Television Group. “Will the show stay as hot as it was in Season 1? I think it’s inevitable that it won’t be as hot. It will perform great, but nothing remains a phenomenon for that long. So, we have to be realistic about our expectation levels. But the material that we’ve seen so far has been great. We feel confident that we have the goods this year.”
ADWeek also added: “While the network feels like its marketing plan is as solid as Season 2′s episodes, one thing is out of its hands—the inevitability of some kind of backlash, which seems to follow every TV show’s meteoric rise. Already, there has been some audience grumbling about the number of high-profile guest stars on tap: Empire’s premiere episode includes appearances from Marisa Tomei, Chris Rock, Kelly Rowland and Al Sharpton, with Chris “Ludacris” Bridges and Pitbull set for subsequent weeks.
However, Fox insists, that the show’s producers will be able to sidestep any land mines. “We have a lot of conversations with our creators about how the shiny object of a guest cast member should never distract from what’s going on with our characters that have connected with this audience who they love,” commented Dana Walden, co-chairman and co-CEO, Fox Television Group.
As for the key storylines – brothers Hakeem (Bryshere Gray) and Jamal (Jussie Smollett) will be at major odds as the season starts, according to Chaiken: “There’s a lot of love between them, but they go at one another. And there’s a strain created by the fact that Jamal got the throne. That’s something that Hakeem always thought he was entitled to and destined for. He has a lot to prove, some of it will be at Jamal’s expense.”
And as for what happens with Lucious (Terrence Howard) behind bars, and when he gets out and seeks his revenge for ending up in the slammer in the first place, Chaiken teased: “I think the combination of no longer living with a death sentence, and then having faced life in prison is going to leave Lucious more ferocious, more calculating, less forgiving than before. It just reinvigorates him for the fight.”
Lucious war on his ex-wife will also put her son Jamal and Cookie (Taraji P. Henson) at opposite sides of the fence! That also will open the door for a new potential squeeze for Cookie when Adam Rodriguez makes his debut in the new role of Laz Delagado.
Finally, let’s not forget Andre (Trai Byers )and Rhonda (Kaitlin Doubleday)! In the season one finale; she has a baby on the way, he has mental issues, and they are now covering up a murder! How will this play out? Stay tuned!
So, do you think Empire will pick up where it left off with unparalleled ratings? Do you think it will take a bit of a tumble? What storypoints are you most interrested in seeing play out? Share your comments beloww!