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Empire Intertitle.png
Genre: Musical
Running Time: 42 minutes
Country: United States
Release Date: January 7, 2015 – April 21, 2020
Network(s): Fox
Created by: Lee Daniels
Danny Strong
Distributed by: 20th Television
Starring: Terrence Howard
Taraji P. Henson
Bryshere Y. Gray
Jussie Smollett
Trai Byers
Grace Byers
Malik Yoba
Kaitlin Doubleday
Gabourey Sidibe
Ta'Rhonda Jones
Morocco Omari
Rumer Willis
Terrell Carter
Andre Royo
Nicole Ari Parker
Chet Hanks
Rhyon Nicole Brown
A. Z. Kelsey
Vivica A. Fox
Meta Golding
Katlynn Simone
Wood Harris
Seasons: 6
Episodes: 102

Empire is an American musical drama television series created by Lee Daniels and Danny Strong which debuted on January 7, 2015 on Fox. Although it is filmed in Chicago, the show is set in New York. It centers on a fictional hip hop music and entertainmentcompany, Empire Entertainment, and the drama among the members of the founders' family as they fight for control of it. A hip-hop mogul must choose a successor among his three sons who are battling for control over his multi-million dollar company, while his ex-wife schemes to reclaim what is hers. The pilot was shown to be a success, garnering praise for Taraji's portrayal of Cookie Lyon and the premiere receiving nearly 10 million viewers and the season finale with 17 million viewers.


Hip-hop artist and CEO of Empire Entertainment, Lucious Lyon, has always ruled unchallenged, but a medical diagnosis predicts he will be incapacitated in three years, which prompts the sharks to circle. Without further damaging his family, he must decide which of his three sons will take over. His favorite, young Hakeem, is a gifted musician but values fame over hard work. Middle son, Jamal, is talented and shy but gay -- embarrassing to Lyon. The oldest, Andre, is business-minded but lacks charisma. The reappearance of Cookie, his ex-wife, complicates things; she says he owes her for taking the fall for the drug-running that financed his early career.

Why It Rocks

  1. Brilliant performances done by Terrance Howard, Taraji P. Henson, Bryshere Y. Gray, Jussie Smollet and Trai Byers.
  2. Plenty of intense and unpredictable moments.
  3. The cliffhangers drive audiences to watch the show.
  4. "Home is on the Way" was not a bad series finale, and the series ended on a cliffhanger.
  5. Their LGBTQ+ characters, especially Camilla Marks-Whiteman, Chicken, India Spring, Jamal Lyon, Jamieson Hinthrop, Michael Sanchez, Mimi Whiteman, Ryan Morgan, Tiana Brown, Tory Ash and Warren Hall.
  6. Great soundtrack.


Empire has received positive reviews from critics. The praise has gone towards the cast, particularly Howard and Henson. On Rotten Tomatoes, the first season has a rating of 84%, based on 49 reviews, with an average rating of 7.24/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Though heavy on melodrama, Empire elevates the nighttime soap with its top-notch cast, musical entertainment, and engrossing plots." On Metacritic the show has a score of 72 out of 100, based on 39 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews". For the second season, the score rose a few points higher, further praising the performances of Henson and Howard, the character development, plot development, and the show's self-awareness for being a soap opera. On Rotten Tomatoes, the second season has a 87% "Certified Fresh" with an average rating of 7.54/10 from critics and a score of 77 from Metacritic, indicating "generally positive reviews".