Music-based television shows are becoming more and more popular, thanks to the rise of fiction shows like “Glee” and reality shows like “The Voice” and “American Idol”. Most of the time, however, they are all about pop and rock music, hardly about any other industry. One show that is airing aims to fix that.
“Empire” is about Lucious Lyon, the CEO of Empire Records, a hip-hop label. Lyon has to hold his company together, but his ex wife Cookie and their three sons are all after the position and ownership of the company. Lyon discovers that he is ill and will be bed ridden soon, and after that, the battle for the hot seat begins. Lyon battles his ex, and begins grooming his three sons to see who can take over after he’s incapacitated.
The show first aired in January, 2015, and it set a new record on FOX. “Empire” became FOX’s highest rated show in three years, topping a huge 9.8 million views in only its first season. In just five episodes, it rose to a 6.6 rating, its highest. It has already beaten a few shows, including “The Mentalist.”
The most interesting part, however, is not the plot or how popular it is. Just like its predecessors, “Empire” releases music from each episode on iTunes. Songs are currently listened by episode, but it is pretty easy to predict that there will be a full album released. Unlike its predecessors, however, “Empire” does not list covers or remixes of songs already done. In the show, musicians mix and work on their own music, and the final products are released on iTunes as soon as the episode ends. This gives viewers a chance to feel more pulled into the story.
The show has also gotten rave reviews, including one from EW.com praising it for the depth of the show, beyond just being about a record company and gives it an A- rating. Variety.com says that “Empire” will definitely grow to replace shows like “American Idol”, who have worn out their welcome. According to Variety, it goes right up next to the movie “Dream Girls” to show how ruthless the music industry can really be.
The cast is led by Terrence Howard, who plays Lucious Lyon. Taraji P. Henson takes up the second leading role as Cookie, Lyon’s ex wife. Their sons are played by Trai Byers, Jussie Smollet, and Bryshere Grey. Other cast members include Gabourey Sidibe, Kaitlin Doubleday, and Malik Yoba. The show was created by Lee Daniels and Danny strong.
“Empire” has already aired, with Episode eight aired on Feburary 25. Those that want to catch up on the show can do so on FOX’s website. “Empire” airs every Wednesday at 9/8c on FOX.

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