News - Soap Buzz

8 March 19th, 2015 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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  1. davlestev1 says:

    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.


  2. davlestev1 says:

    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


  3. Scott (ATWT Fan) says:

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


  4. Mo says:

    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.


  5. Annie says:

    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 replied

    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 replied

    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.


  6. kevin says:

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


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