More drama, more music promised as hip hop drama 'Empire' returns

Fri Sep 18, 2015 5:35pm EDT
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By Katherine Davis-Young

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Family conflicts, tempestuous romances and power struggles made hip hop show "Empire" the highest-rated new hit for Fox this year, and viewers can expect a lot more salacious drama in season two.

"If season one was built on the premise of 'who will inherit the throne?', season two is 'warring kingdoms,'" executive producer and writer Ilene Chaiken teased for reporters on Friday.

"Empire" returns to Twenty-First Century Fox's broadcast network on Wednesday after drawing an average of 17.3 million viewers per episode in season one earlier this year. The debut season followed the Lyon family as they attempted to cement their power in the world of hip hop.

"Empire" centers on drug runner-turned music mogul Lucious Lyon (Terrence Howard), who pits his three sons against each other with the promise that one will inherit his record company, Empire Entertainment.

But it's the show's intensely ambitious, prison-hardened, aggressive matriarch Cookie Lyon who has stood out, with actress Taraji P. Henson earning one of the show's three Emmy nominations in the best drama actress category for this weekend.

"In a matter of moments, (Henson) can go from the most raucous and flamboyant to the most heartwarming and touching," Chaiken said. "This character hasn't been on television before."

The show failed to pick up a best drama series Emmys nod but was nominated twice in the costume category.

The second season of "Empire" picks up three months after season one left off. Lyon is in prison on a murder charge, while his son Jamal (Jussie Smollett) is running his company.   Continued...

(L-R) Cast member Taraji P. Henson, executive producer Lee Daniels, executive producer Brian Grazer, and executive producer Ilene Chaiken participate in the FOX "Empire" panel at the Television Critics Association (TCA) Summer 2015 Press Tour in Beverly Hills, California August 6, 2015.  REUTERS/Jonathan Alcorn