The season finale of FOX’s most watched television show, Empire has continued to break ratings barriers on network television since its debut on January 7. When Empire premiered on FOX Jan. 7, it drew 9.8 million viewers, according to the Nielsen company. But what’s more shocking about the show is it has done what many other shows on FOX and other networks failed at which is an increase in its audience every week, growing to 14.9 million viewers on March 4.
Starring Academy Nominated actors Taraji P. Henson and Terrence Howard, Empire features an uncut and almost realistic portrayal of the Urban music industry through a Black Perspective. The show is set in an almost all Black world with the main characters living as a Black Dynasty running a successful music label. With this being the case, it’s not difficult to see that out of almost 12 Million viewers, 7.5 million are African-American.
The show touches on many social issues that affect the Black community and in particular, Homosexuality in Black Familes. According to Empire’s creator Lee Daniels, “Homophobia is rampant in the African-American community, and men are on the DL. They don’t come out [and] they’re killing our women.”
While many of the shows viewers responding positively to Empire, many others feel that the show perpetuates Black Stereotypes. Boyce Watkins denounced the “ghetto-fied hood drama” as “coonery” he refused to support.
With all of the heat from those who protest the show due to its portrayal of “Black Stereotypes”, FOX has decided to release the show from its network and sell it to HBO. According to Jack Henderson, a spokesperson from the FOX Network, release a statement saying, “We know the potential that Empire has and the amount of viewers the show has brought to FOX. However, we believe that the content of the show does not properly represent the FOX Network or what our viewers want to see. We have made the decision to remove the show from our network and sell the remaining contract to HBO.”
While HBO has yet to comment on the agreement, it’s a fact that bringing Empire to HBO will not only give Lee Daniels more creative rights to the content but will also increase HBO subscriptions.