‘Empire’ Premiere Gets 1.3 Million Tweets

24 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

‘Empire’ Season 2 premiere recap: #FreeLucious.

The lines of reality and fiction were getting a little bit blurry in the early hours of Thursday morning as the rapper responded to be being dissed by the infamous Cookie on the hit show.Empire has officially returned for season 2, and Gabourey Sidibe – a.k.a. the ever outspoken Becky – will be recapping all of the drama week to week for EW. Fictional Cookie is only recently out of jail after more than a decade behind bars and, before that, she was with the father of her three children and head of Empire, Lucious Lyon, so clearly the pair go way back.

At the beginning of the show, patriarch Lucious Lyon (Terrence Howard), who founded Empire Entertainment, believed he was gravely ill and tries to decide to which of his children he should leave the company. While premiere week is generally about seeing which new broadcast series fly (or fizzle), no new show is courting as much interest from ratings-watchers as Empire. Previously 50 has been rather critical of Empire – perhaps because he was on of the few people not to get a cameo – so he made sure to let Taraji know he has love for her. The forensic procedural starring Morris Chestnut managed to self-start and hold its own to tie the return of Survivor in the hour — that’s despite Rosewood drawing some of the harshest reviews of the new fall crop, averaging only 37 out of 100 on Metacritic. The vice president appeared on the Amy Poehler show in the fifth season, following recurring jokes since the pilot; Leslie Knope only lived one man more than she loved her husband, Ben Wyatt (Adam Scott).

Politicians are anything but ethical in “The Good Wife,” so former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg decided to throw his hat in the ring in the season four finale. “He’s here for a meeting of his reduce gun violence coalition,” Eli Gold (Alan Cumming) said as the camera cuts to a shot of Bloomberg shaking hands with fake Illinois Governor Peter Florrick (Chris Noth). Launched out of American Idol, the hip-hop drama starring Terrence Howard as a music mogul was a success out of the gate with 9.8 million viewers and a 3.7 rating. The one-hour episode easily outperformed everything else on TV last night — and this week, if you exclude football — with an average 6.7 rating among adults 18-49 and 16 million viewers. Showrunner Ilene Chaiken said in a recent interview that the Lyon family is still battling one another in the new episodes. “If season one of ‘Empire’ was about who will inherit the throne, season two is warring kingdoms,” Chaiken said. There will be more installments this year, with 18 episodes ordered by Fox for the second season as opposed to the 12 of the first season, and guest stars are rapper Ludacris, Kelly Rowland, Vivica A.

We’ll miss seeing Rock on screen, but it looks like Tomei is here to stay – and we’re still waiting for our invite to her weekly viewing party with creator Lee Daniels, Mariah Carey, Kathy Najimy, Whoopi Goldberg and Raven-Symoné. He was running for mayor in the show, too, and vowed to eliminate false advertising in the city after Kramer’s non-fat frozen yogurt doesn’t turn out to be non-fat. O’Neill wasn’t the only politician to go unrecognized in the Boston bar: Cliff Clavin (John Ratzenberger) and Norm Peterson (George Wendt) mistake Kerry for a local newscaster.

And trouble was already happening with the other family members: son Jamal (Smollett) convinced Tomei’s character, Mimi Whiteman, to work with him and Lucious rather than Cookie and told Cookie, his brothers Hakeem (Gray) and Andre (Byers), and his sister-in-law Rhonda (Kaitlin Doubleday) to leave the house. In The Hollywood Reporter’s recent cover story on the drama, the asking price for a 30-second spot in the Sept. 23 premiere was revealed to be a staggering $750,000.

Chaiken said Hakeem will be one of the characters in the spotlight this season. “He has a huge arc in this season, and a huge evolution,” Chaiken said. “It’s a real growth story. And the rest of the season will see the same amount of time going for as much as $600,000. (That’s in the range of peak American Idol.) Empire’s first-season performance was basically without precedent in the modern TV landscape. As part of her Joining Forces initiative, which raises awareness about the need to support U.S. military families, the First Lady joined the cast of the Nickelodeon show for some “random dancing.” It’s a story of a boy becoming a man.” Jamal is not happy with his position at Empire Entertainment and wants to focus on his music, Chaiken said. “The second he gets the opportunity, Jamal will bust out of his corporate chains because Jamal is an artist at heart and he is really suffering under the burden of responsibility,” she said.

Also Wednesday: NBC’s The Myseries of Laura (6.9 million, 1.2 in the demo) returned down 40 percent for its second season (the biggest mystery is why this was renewed); Law & Order: SVU (8.2 million, 1.7) returned lower. André Leon Talley was, true to style, perfect at throwing shade with a “Legally Blonde”-esque, foot stomping Enrique throwback to Cookie’s, “…last season Gucci dress.” Al Sharpton and Don Lemmon both make appearances, but are quickly dismissed by Cookie with eye rolls and snark. Then, you’ve got the musical element of these great songs.” “Empire” debuted this previous January and aired 12 episodes, an unusually small number for a broadcast program. (The hit NBC drama “The Blacklist,” by contrast, aired 22 in its most recent season.) The show became a ratings smash.

And then there was Chris Rock, playing the character of Frank Gathers, the man Cookie snitched on thanks to the long arm of agent Harlow Carter, now in Shawshank with Lucious. While some broadcast programs can get great ratings for a premiere and then have ratings drop off later on, “Empire” grew week by week. “Empire” was the second-most-watched show of the year in the 18-to-49 year old demographic, behind only NBC’s “Sunday Night Football.” It was the fifth-most-watched show in terms of total viewers, ahead of such hits as ABC’s “Dancing With the Stars” and CBS’s “Madam Secretary.” With its 12 episodes, “Empire” is closer to a cable or streaming drama than the usual network fare – the HBO hit “Game of Thrones” airs 10 episodes per season, for example. But facing off against Empire, Modern Family (9.3 million, 3.1) was down 18 percent and Black-ish (7.3 million, 2.4) was down 27 percent from their premieres last fall. Multiplatform data is more difficult to account for, but Fox brass have been vocal about the show’s continued traction among streamers over the summer. After hearing Lucious tell Cookie, “It’s crazy how I can love your ass and hate you at the same moment”, you know it’s done — Chris is dead.

ABC saw 8 p.m. comedies The Middle (2.1 adults) and The Goldbergs (2.4 adults) hold their own — while Modern Family predictably dipped at the top of its seventh season. Still, the consistency of ABC’s two-hour comedy block, an increasingly rare sight on the broadcast landscape, should not be discounted — especially in the face of Empire. They threw her a Ladies Only party in Hakeem’s bathtub and even sent BooBooKitty to throw that ass in a circle just to get Mimi on their side, but it didn’t work! Mimi, the shady kitten that she is, lets Lucious know about the potential hostile takeover and offers to invest in the company with him in order to shut Cookie out! In true Lyon style, it’s really to woo Mimi Whiteman into investing her kajillions of USD into Empire Entertainment so Cookie can rule as Queen Bee (more on that later).

He’s the dude that Cookie used to sell drugs for when she was helping to build Empire with her “Fo Hunid Thousand.” Also, Gathers is the guy that she snitched on to get her sentence reduced! And how the hell did she manage to strip out of a sweaty, gorilla suit, with hair and makeup on fleek, wearing a Gucci dress (even if it was last season). The concert had heavy and direct political overtones, references to the Ferguson riots and a speech delivered by Cookie on African-American incarcerations, justice, power and equality. #FreeLucious was trending, the crowd was chanting “How much longer,” and it was all a clever two-for-one PR punch to free Lucious from jail and highlight the long struggles of the African-American community in America. Cookie knows she’s in trouble and has all of her family wait at The Lyon Mansion while she goes down to the jail to ask Lucious to handle this for her.

She’s dolled up as if someone raided the former set of “Ugly Betty,” grabbed all of America Ferrera’s clothes and ran arms-swinging down the street to “Empire.” While a marked step-up from last season, she was fluctuating between chic and 1920s architecture stripes. You and me are good but Cookie gotta die,” and that’s when Lucious let it be known that Cookie is his family and he would kill Frank for threatening his family! Sadly, Jamal tossed him aside in Season 1 like a soggy burrito, even though Dora was in love before the fame and power (“The First Wives Club,” anyone?). For those LGBTQ kids out there, it would have been a far better example to show Jamal make time in his schedule for this event rather than simply throw money at them. Cookie throws an opulent party for rich white girl, stocked with music, booze and, obviously, barely-clad young, but not illegally young, ladies for said rich white girl.

Nun-attired Anika declines until Cookie feeds her to the Lyons (see what I did there?) and we watch demure, sweater vested Anika break into a twerk in her tight-white skirt. Sadly, all that twerking didn’t work as Cookie, confident in obtaining rich white girl’s money, finds out unexpectedly that a deal was made that did not include her, but keeps Jamal in power, backed by Lucious and Mimi’s money.

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