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When it comes to breakout success in the television landscape, you can’t deny that FOX’s Empire was among them when it debuted in January of last year. The show brought in huge ratings for FOX and became a water cooler hit that people were dying to discuss after it aired. Well, it’s good news time for Empire’s rabid fan base; the show just got renewed for a third season.
FOX officially announced that the music industry drama would continue next year. Empire busted ratings expectations on many levels when it debuted. The show actually managed to increase its ratings on a weekly basis, when hardly any show has done that ever. Its growth led an industry analyst to note that it “exceeded all Nielson total viewer records to date.”
In case you’ve missed the speeding Empire train, the show revolves around the Lyon family, led by Lucious (Terrence Howard), the CEO of Empire Entertainment. Their successful hip hop/R&B record label is a constant source of drama and shenanigans, with Lucious, his ex-wife Cookie (Taraji P. Henson) and their three sons, Andre (Trai Byers), Jamal (Jussie Smollett) and Hakeem (Bryshere Y. Gray), constantly battling for supremacy over the company’s leadership, fortune and, in some cases, musical dominance on the charts and their parents love.
Obviously, after that beyond impressive first season, Empire was destined for a second one. That season debuted in the fall for the 2015-2016 television season, and, despite a dip in the first season’s massive ratings, the program continues to be a cultural touch stone. With only the first half of the second season finished, the show has already garnered a whopping 35 award nominations, making it the most nominated program for this TV season. It was also the only show on one of the major broadcast networks (i.e. not on cable) to received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Television Drama. And, when the award show aired last Sunday, Taraji P. Henson won for Best Actress in a Drama.
Empire has continued to be the gift that keeps on giving for FOX. The enthralling and scheming main characters are joined by shocking reveals and captivating cliffhangers, making the show the most tweeted about scripted program on broadcast TV. As an added bonus, the show features original music, and the soundtrack brought in great sales.
Something that has surely kept Empire popular in the second season is the array of guest stars that keep pouring through the show. Over it’s one and a half seasons, the show has boasted appearances by Alicia Keys, Snoop Dogg, Mary J. Blige, Rosie O’Donnell, Chris Rock, Lenny Kravitz, Naomi Campbell, Marisa Tomei and Courtney Love.
There’s no doubt that, as long as Empire maintains ratings at this level and continues to be a cultural talking point for audiences, that it will live a long life on FOX. And, with a third season pickup already done, the creators can make sure that season is well-planned with plenty of surprises and shocking plotlines to keep the nighttime soap afloat for many more seasons to come.