Starring: Terrence Howard, Bryshere Gray, Jussie Smollett, Trai Byers, Grace Gealey, Malik Yoba, Kaitlin Doubleday, and Taraji P. Henson
Created by Lee Daniels and Danny Strong
Written by Lee Daniels & Danny Strong, Directed by Lee Daniels
THE PREMISE: Empire is a sprawling new hip hop soap opera surrounding a powerful record company, Empire Entertainment. Lucious Lyon (Terrence Howard) is a former drug dealer who is now the CEO of the huge company, but he has been diagnosed with ALS. His ex-wife, Cookie (Taraji P. Henson) is back in the picture after a seventeen year prison sentence for dealing drugs, and she wants a stake in the company. Lucious is trying to groom one of his sons (Bryshere Gray, Jussie Smollett, and Trai Byers) into taking over the company. Rounding out the main cast is Lucious' girlfriend, Anika (Grace Gealey), his longtime business partner Vernon (Malik Yoba), and his scheming daughter-in-law, Rhonda (Kaitlin Doubleday).
BOTTOM LINE: On paper, Empire doesn't seem like my type of show but I was really intrigued and I will definitely watch it again next week. Taraji P. Henson is such a revelation in this show and it seems like it has a story to tell and many places to go. I'm a little leery after my experience with Nashville, but I'm hoping things will be different.