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‘Empire’ Episode 9 ‘A Furnace For Your Foe’ Recap: Jamal Goes to Rehab & Andre Plots To Kill Lucious

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HustleTV TV News  Throughout the past nine episodes of Empire’s third season, audiences have dealt with all the Macbethian drama has to offer: love triangles, backstabbing and brotherly beef. The hit series from Lee Daniels even stayed true to the times by incorporating discussions of police brutality, racism and #BlackGirlMagic.

Though ratings for the series have taken a dip, viewers who tuned into the midseason finale found that while Empire is still jam-packed with its predictable over-the-top turmoil, there are still a lot of plot twists in the making. DJ Hustle

Read which Lyons received a happy ending (for now) and the cliffhangers you’ll be clinging to until the show’s return in March.

 Taraji P. Henson in the "What We May Be" episode of Empire on Nov. 16, 2016.

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‘Empire’ Producer Talks Midseason Finale, That Crushing Farewell & Ratings Dip

Jamal Faces An Intervention

Since the season’s start, Jamal struggled with post-traumatic stress disorder and pill addiction. Though Jamal promised Cookie that he was sober now, a genuinely concerned Lucious warned her about possibly pushing him too far. Cookie dumped all Jamal’s pills to ensure his sobriety for his performance at The People’s Ball (a fundraising concert for Angelo’s campaign), but on the day of the show, she found him in withdrawal. Cookie reluctantly retrieved his pills — from the kitchen sink pipes — so that he could perform and revive his career. Despite Jamal putting on an incredible comeback performance, the Lyons (yes, even Lucious) confronted him intervention-style. “You’re going to rehab, okay,” Cookie declared. HustleTV

#Takeem Returns

Hakeem kicked off this season as a new father who was still dealing with being dumped at the altar. Later, Lucious robbed him of his daddy duties, then Andre crushed Hakeem’s plans of being with Nessa. But since Hakeem caped for Tiana during her fashion show debacle, it seemed as though the two exes would rekindle old flames and Hakeem would find some silver lining among his growing pains. Luckily for #Takeem enthusiasts, Tiana brought out Hakeem for a surprise duet during The People’s Ball, where they shared a kiss.

Serayah as Tiana in the "The Unkindest Cut" episode of Empire on Fox. 

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Empire Episode 8 ‘The Unkindest Cut’ Recap: Nessa Trumps Tiana In The Fashion Show From Hell

Lucious Digs Up Angelo’s Past

The Lyons weren’t the only ones who tried to keep their past under wraps all season. Angelo’s mom Diana recruited Lucious to stop a journalist from publishing a slanderous story about Angelo. In return, she promised to break up Cookie and her boo. Cookie was helping Angelo win in the polls, so Diana reneged on her end of the deal. To retaliate, Lucious ambushed Angelo after The People’s Ball with the media and shared the real story of when he “drunk drove into a lake saving himself while leaving a poor innocent girl to drown.”

“Shameful,” Lucious taunted before leaving Cookie to make sense of the news. “I warned you.”

Andre Plans to Kill Lucious

Following Ronda’s murder, Andre consistently plotted to gain more power at Empire Records. His ex-wife’s ghost has coached him through much of his plan but since revealing his bipolar disorder to Nessa, Andre finally said goodbye to Ronda’s ghost. “You are the smartest and most devoted and most ruthless of the Lyon sons,” she said as Andre imagined them parting ways. “Make her the biggest star and then you’ll control the music and then you’ll have all the power.”

In an attempt to retrieve said power, Andre discovered Shyne snitched to Tariq. However, instead of tattling to Lucious, Andre struck a deal with Shyne to run Nessa’s career and quietly gain power. “We’ll put the pieces in place, cover our tracks, make all the moves we need to make until it’s time,” Andre said. “Until it’s time to kill my father.” DJ Hustle

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Timbaland Exits ‘Empire’ as Rodney Jerkins Signs On: Exclusive

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HustleTV Music News…. Timbaland, who helmed the songwriting team for Empire since its inception, has exited. Joining Fox’s hit television series for its third season (Sept. 21, 9 p.m. ET) are four-time Grammy Award-winning songwriter/producer Rodney Jerkins as supervising music producer. Also contributing to the show’s music will be songwriter Ester DeanHustleTV

“We were happy to work with Timbaland during the first two seasons,” says Shawn Holiday, senior VP of A&R for Columbia Records, which releases Empire’s music. “But we wanted to take a different approach for season 3. We dealt a lot with family drama in the first season through songs like ‘Good Enough’ when Lucious Lyon threw his son Jamal in the trash can. That was a very emotional music moment. So we’re going for the same success with upcoming songs like ‘Mama,’ about Cookie being the backbone of the family, and a duet with Mariah Carey and Jussie Smollett.” HustleTV

Of bringing Jerkins and Dean onboard, Holiday adds, “Rodney is a dynamic, multi-format producer experienced in urban, rhythmic and pop. And Dean excels at writing big songs with catchy hooks.”

Jerkins’ best-known credits include Michael Jackson (“Rock My World”), Beyonce(“Déjà Vu”), Lady Gaga (“Telephone”) and Brandy & Monica (“The Boy Is Mine”). Dean, a co-star in the popular Pitch Perfect film franchise, has written for Rihanna(“Rude Boy”), Katy Perry (“Firework) and Nicki Minaj (“Super Bass”).

To round out season 3’s music team, Holiday revealed that Empire has also recruited Grammy-winning songwriter Johntá Austin (Carey’s “We Belong Together,” Mary J. Blige’s “Be Without You”), Makeba Riddick (Beyoncé’s “Deja Vu,” Rihanna’s “Rude Boy”) and Jesse St. John (Britney Spears’ Glory album). Songwriters Ne-Yo and J.R. Rotem, who joined the team last year, are both returning.

Among other new songs featured in the first half of season 3 will be the Dean-written “Aces High.” And besides Carey, the guest star list includes Biz Markie, Cash Money principal BirdmanFrench Montana and Romeo Miller (formerly Lil Romeo). Also previously reported: the addition of actress/singer Sierra McClain as Nessa, a protégé of Lucious Lyon’s rival Shyne Johnson. The latter is portrayed by new series regular Xzibit.

Dismissing critics of season 2’s storylines and music, Holiday says, “We started out with 24 million viewers. That’s like Michael Jordan scoring 80 points in the first half. There’s no way he’s going to score another 80 the second half. We knew some mistakes would be made. But you’re going to see the actors and characters grow more mature and seasoned as music artists. And we feel that we have the chance this season to break an artist from a television show. We haven’t seen that since the early American Idol days.” HustleTV

An Empire season 3 soundtrack will arrive next spring. Empire: Original Soundtrack From Season One bowed at No. 1 on the Billboard 200, the first TV soundtrack to do so since 2010. The show’s Season 2, Volume 1 soundtrack peaked at No. 16 on the Billboard 200, while Volume 2 reached No. 26 on the same tally. According to Nielsen Music, six Empire tracks have sold more than 100,000 digital downloads: “Conqueror (268,000), “You’re So Beautiful” (246,000), “Good Enough” (199,000), “Keep Your Money” (138,000), “No Apologies” (128,000) and “What Is Love” (109,000). HustleTV

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‘Empire’ Showrunner Talks Ongoing Spinoff Conversations, Possible ‘Star’ Crossover

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HustleTV Entertainment News…. With the continued success of Fox’s Empire comes the continued questions about a possible spinoff of the hip-hop drama — a question showrunner Ilene Chaiken faced at the Television Critics Association summer press tour on Monday (Aug. 8).

“There certainly could be and we talk about it,” Chaiken told reporters. “I think the show offers so many opportunities. There are potential spinoffs with Lucious and Cookie’s characters, sure.”

The 10 Best-Selling ‘Empire’ Songs

Chaiken’s quotes come a year after Empire co-creator Lee Daniels made headlines at Fox’s 2015 summer press tour when he told the room “there will be a spinoff.” Since then, a spinoff has yet to come to fruition and Daniels is juggling two series: Empire as well as his first-year drama Star, which centers on an up-and-coming girl group.

Chaiken also sounded open to the possibility of a crossover between Empire and Star. Fox is no stranger to crossovers between series, with New Girl and Brooklyn Nine-Nine set to crossover this fall.

Mariah Carey to Appear on Forthcoming Episode of ‘Empire’

“We haven’t talked about it yet. i think the show needs to launch first,” Chaiken said of the latter, which premieres midseason on Fox. “But certainly, there’s potential for it. The worlds, they’re both grounded worlds and stories about music so its not outside the realm of possibility.” HustleTV

Empire kicks off its third season on Wednesday, Sept. 21 at 9 p.m. on Fox.

This article was originally published on The Hollywood Reporter.

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‘Empire’ Star Bryshere ‘Yazz’ Gray on Writing Music With Timbaland, His Solo Album & Why Hakeem Is Getting ‘Wiser’

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Empire season 2 is in full swing, which means more songs from the Empire Cast and executive music producer Timbaland are coming out — and coming into your brain on replay.

On this week’s episode, music legend Timbaland steps out from behind the boards and gets on an Empire track for the first time ever with “Bout 2 Blow,” a moody, confident trap banger featuring his modulated vocals and verses penned by Bryshere “Yazz” Gray (Hakeem). HustleTV

While filming the ninth episode of Empire’s second season in Chicago, Yazz got on the phone with Billboard to talk about hitting the studio with Timb at 2 a.m., progress on his solo album and how his family got him through season 1.

 

 

So “Bout to Blow” is the first time Timbaland has officially appeared on any Empire track, right?

Yeah. This song right here is special, man. You got somebody that’s been in the game a long time and he’s debuting himself on Empire season 2 with Yazz. The song is great. “Bout 2 Blow,” it’s a crazy record that debuts on episode 3. I wrote the record and I feel good about it.

So you wrote this?

Yeah. The process was, I was filming for about 18 hours and Timbaland was the studio, making the record. Once I was done filming about 2 o’clock in the morning, I went to the studio and we created a record. Timbaland is so creative — he just laid the beat down and made it easy for me to go in.

Was it intimidating working closely with someone who’s created as many classics as him?

This Week’s ‘Empire’: 5 Favorite Moments From ‘Hustle & Flow’ Reunion to Rainbow Sensation

Yeah, at first I was a little nervous until he said he wanted to work with me — and that he was a fan of me, Yazz. So I was excited.

When you write for Empire, are you thinking, “let’s just make a good song” or are you concerned with writing from Hakeem’s perspective? HustleTV

We got to write the record based on the storyline and what’s going on — and what’s going on in your life. It’s not like we go to the studio and think “we gotta make a club smash” or a pop record — we make good music that fits into the storyline. That’s all it is. Jussie [Smollett] and I are artists outside of the show, but this is something that makes the characters more describable.

And you have a solo deal with Columbia. Is “Bout to Blow” something that might appear on an upcoming album of yours?

Yeah, Columbia is family. They treat us good and it’s good over there. I’m working on the album now. I’m always recording. I just built a recording studio in my condo [in Chicago] so I’m always recording and making beats.

Do you expect that you could have an album in 2016?

Um, I wish. Because I’m doing so much right now. I’m on tour, doing my acting thing and on top of that I’m recording. And with recording good records, you don’t want to rush it. You want to take your time you, gotta build that energy [says something to another person]. I’m on set now, sorry. We’re filming episode 9.

Is the mood different on set than season 1, considering you know how wildly popular the show is?

Not really. It’s just, you get put in different situations. This season you get put in situations that’s on steroids. You just gotta get your moments and own your moments.

Your personal life must be different. Can you still go out and get groceries without being stopped by fans?

Yeah, I’m not foreign to it because I’ve been going through this since I was in high school. I get it. It’s overwhelming sometimes, but I still go and get groceries and do what I want to do.

But you probably get roped into a lot of selfies.

I’ve had to deal with that since high school.

And you’re working on movies, too.

I was in Brotherly Love, that was my first movie. I was like, an extra in it. I was focusing on my music. I just got signed to Interscope, I was touring, so acting wasn’t really my first obligation — it was music and performance. I wake up and love doing it; I could do that in my sleep. When Empire came, that shifted how I move around. I couldn’t perform as much, I couldn’t put a lot of music out. But at the same time, I got to be on a big show and put on a great platform. So it’s good either way.

Do you think eventually you’ll take some time off from acting to concentrate on music making?

Absolutely.

What can we expect from Hakeem on the upcoming season?

You can expect Hakeem coming into his own, getting wiser and making boss moves. Not making those childish, idiotic moves he made in season 1. He’s gonna surprise you. He’s coming into his own. Trying to take the Empire from his brother, but it’s gonna get messy. It’s not going to be that easy.

Last episode featured guest star Becky G, and you and her ended up in the bathtub together. Are Hakeem and her character gonna become a thing?

You just gonna have to stick around.

Jussie also has a solo deal with Columbia. Do you guys gel musically apart from the show — could you see doing a solo album with a feature from him?

Yeah, I love working with Jussie. That’s like my brother. When we in the studio, we can be in there an hour and get two songs done. That would be an option — if he’s down for it.

What does your ideal 2016 look like?

I just want to do more of what I did last year. I’m 21 years old. I’m the youngest in the cast [laughs] and we’ve accomplished a lot in a year. Broke a lot of records. We had the world saying “OMG” every week. It’s about us being consistent and me being humble and accepting what it is.

You have accomplished a lot at a young age. Was your family supportive of you going into showbiz?

Without my family, I probably wouldn’t have made it past season 1. The fame was cracking down very hard. It was a whole ‘nother level. It was hard to adjust to it and work at the same time. So I had to have my family around, they was like my shield. They made sure I stayed out of trouble.

Anything you want to add about “Bout to Blow” before I let you go back to work?

Make sure you request it on the radio station if you support Team Yazz. I love you all, all the ladies out there [laughs].

Speaking of which, is there any lady in your life?

Nope. I’m just married to Team Yazz right now.

This Week’s ‘Empire’: 5 Favorite Moments, From ‘Hustle & Flow’ Reunion to ‘Rainbow Sensation’

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While laudable in its scope (it covered everything from the politics of prison to soap opera drama), the Empire season 2 premiere juggled too much for one hour of TV. Last night’s episode, however, (“Without a Country”; aired Sept. 30) was exactly what you want from Empire: Great music, convincing guest stars and dramatic surprises – like Cookie breaking off to start her own label, Dynasty — that didn’t feel inserted simply for shock value. HustleTV

Becky G’s ‘Empire’ Guest Spot: Plenty of Skin & Spanish

From Jussie Smollett’s new banger to Ludacris’ guest spot, here’s our five favorite moments. Warning: Some spoilers ahead.

“Born to Love U”

Damn, this is the kind of thing that could (and should) be heard on the radio. Like many of today’s hits (including another U tune, “Where Are U Now”), this track takes a heart-on-sleeve piano ballad and makes it weirder with a vocal modulated hook. If Dynasty wants to challenge Empire for the crown, it’s gonna have to work harder. HustleTV

‘Empire’ Season 2 Premiere:

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Empire returned to television Wednesday night (Sept. 23) with a second season opener that deftly straddled the line between TV melodrama and social consciousness — the season 2 premiere covered everything from a Shakespearean beheading to a succinct indictment of the American prison system’s reliance on African-American incarceration. HustleTV

That being said, it certainly wasn’t a subtle hour of television. Understated moments were hard to come by — and insane moments plentiful. Here’s the top 5 craziest. Warning: Spoilers ahead.

Cookie Dresses Up as a Caged Gorilla

From King Kong to horrifically racist comments about President Obama, the history of African-Americans being likened to gorillas/monkeys is a sadly storied part of American history. So it was fairly shocking when the season 2 premiere opened with the image of a person in a gorilla suit dangling in a cage above the screaming fans of Empire Records — as in, yeah, they went there. It was especially crazy when the gorilla mask came off to reveal Cookie beneath. “How much longer are they gonna treat us like animals?” she asked. “The American correctional system is built on the back of our brothers, father and sons.” For a primetime network drama, that’s some blunt truth.

Further confusing the situation — the fact that Lucious Lyon is, you know, definitely guilty — which the episode quickly alludes to. Empire, why you gotta make things so complicated? HustleTV

Every ‘Empire’ Character Ranked By Likability

Chris Rock Is Supposed to Be Intimidating

“You inspire fear — that’s how you win on the streets,” Lucious Lyon (now imprisoned) welcomes Chris Rock’s character, Frank Gathers, to the slammer with that quote. The problem — the moment Chris Rock enters the prison, you can’t stop thinking of Chris Rock being ridiculously hilarious. And as the drama heightens, the idea that Chris Rock is a dangerous man to be deathly afraid of just gets more confusing. Maybe they should’ve kept the deleted cannibal scene, because it was difficult to muster fear toward one of the funniest humans on earth. HustleTV

Head’s Up

As Shakespearean as Empire can be (it is explicitly inspired by King Lear), it was still fairly shocking to see a scene end with a severed head inside a wrapped box. After all, before that, warnings of danger to Cookie were signified by flowers — a chopped off head is quite the step up from that.

Sexual Designs on a Teen

The most uncomfortable moment was a throwaway line from Lucious to his foe (played by Rock), delivered just before Lyon orders his henchmen to murder Gathers. Some set-up: A previous scene established that Gathers had a young daughter with an interest in rapping. Just before leaving Gathers to die (loudly and painfully), Lyon said this about his rival’s underage daughter: “I’m gonna sign your baby girl — and then Imma slip her my bone.” Just. Ugh.

11 Best Moments From ‘Empire’ Season 1

Next Episode Tease

According to the brief teaser for next week, Cookie branches out apart from Lucious to start a new record label. This is crazy because if this plotline will have any semblance of reality, there’s no way this can be resolved within the arc of several episodes. Perhaps it won’t. But it’s likely that two-three episodes from now, we’ll have forgotten about a subplot that, in real life, would involve years of business machinations and legal fallout — all of which will presumably be squished into a few days. Yes, it’s a TV show, but still.

What did you think was the craziest moment from the season 2 premiere of Empire? Special shoutout to Marisa Tomei who was perfect as the double-crossing investor. HustleTV

‘Empire’ Guest Star Courtney Love on Mistakes & Second Chances

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Until the airing of the first season of Fox’s Empire a few months ago, it had been a very long time since people had thought of Courtney Love as an actress, let alone a good one.

All indications were that the bleached-blonde rebel — who created and fronted the 1990s rock band Hole, married and then tragically lost grunge father Kurt Cobain and subsequently battled numerous personal demons — had long ago blown her chance at a multi-hyphenated career. She had shown such promise, landing small parts in several 1980s movies, including Sid and Nancy, before convincing no less a director than Oscar winner Milos Forman — the man behind One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and Amadeus —that she deserved to play the female lead in his 1996 film The People vs. Larry Flynt. His faith was rewarded: she gave a stirring turn, ultimately receiving a Golden Globe nomination. After that, though, she appeared in only a few other films, of varying quality, but for the most part, rather inexplicably, faded away from the acting scene.

Courtney Love Follow Up ‘Empire’ Role With Gig on ‘Revenge’

When I connected with Love by phone on July 9 — a day after her 51st birthday and one week before the announcement of this year’s Emmy nominations, at which many feel she deserves a nom for best guest actress in a drama series for her self-reflexive, “cathartic” portrayal of a troubled rocker on Empire — she sounded like a woman who had thought plenty about the road not taken, as well as about making up for lost time.

“Why did I go Norma Desmond on it?” she says with a rueful laugh, referring to Sunset Boulevard’s aging silent movie star who emerges from retirement trying to restart her career in the sound era. “I wasn’t ready for it. I wasn’t wise enough. I don’t think I was gracious enough at the time. The junkets and the press stuff really, really scared me. I came from rock and roll. I was used to rock and roll.” She continues, “I have to tell you, it was really a choice — and one that I regret, in some ways.”

About three years ago, somewhat out of the blue, she had a change of heart. “I had just kind of tired of music,” she says, noting that she finds it harder to relate to audiences of millennials, “and I saw a Sean Penn film at Cannes, and Sean was so good in it that I got this fire in my belly. I was like, ‘Dammit, I want that again. That is rock and roll, to be able to do what Sean does; it’s just a different kind of rock and roll.’”

Now, she says, “I’m older and I’m wiser and I have a great team around me that knows what I want and that knows how to get it.” And what she wants, she insists, is to act. “Part of my return to acting is that I’m over [music], do you know what I mean? I’ve seen it all and I’ve done it all in that field. But I haven’t done it all in acting and I would really like to learn more. I’m having more fun doing this.” (She says proudly, “On my birthday I got three scripts, which is miraculous.”)

“I’m so grateful to the industry and to the fans,” she emphasizes. “I mean, they are basically pretty forgiving because, you know, I went through some stuff.” She adds, in apparent reference to her and her generation, “We were just so young and so dumb and so full of ourselves. You just mellow out with age.”

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‘Empire’ Producers on Chasing Money, Early Warnings and Avoiding the N-Word

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The hip-hop drama co-created by Danny Strong and Lee Daniels — which became a phenomenon last season and now ranks as broadcast TV’s No. 1 show — was originally envisioned as a movie.

‘Empire’ Team Teases Chris Rock’s Role, “Warring Kingdoms” in Season Two

Co-creator Danny Strong, joined by co-executive producer/writer Wendy Calhoun, speaking Saturday (June 5) at the ATX Television Festival in Austin, revealed just how he came up with the idea for the Taraji P. Henson and Terrence Howard drama.

“There was a news story on the radio about Puffy and some deal he closed,” Strong recalled. “Hearing that story, I thought, ‘Hip-hop is so cool. I have to do something in hip-hop.’ I constantly work from mythological or Shakespearean concepts. … Maybe like King Lear or the Lion in Winter. The whole concept flooded into my head in 30 seconds. We were in postproducton on The Butler and I pitched it to [co-creator] Lee Daniels. …

I pitched it to him as a movie. Lee and I could do a hip-hop musical movie and Lee called me the next day and said he couldn’t stop thinking about the idea. Lee said, ‘Do you want to be rich?’ and in fact I do! He said we should do it as a TV show. I instantly knew he was right because it’s about a family and TV shows are about families … we instantly started talking about Dynasty and Dallas and we could do a black Dynasty. Empire was created from every single first idea that happened spontaneously.”

‘Empire’ Is “Good Enough” to Hit Radio Charts

Empire became a phenomenon last season. Fox’s hip-hop drama is the No. 1 broadcast drama on television, was the highest-rated broadcast drama since 2008, highest-rated freshman series since 2005 and was the first show to build in live viewers every week in 23 years.

For her part, Calhoun came to Empire after having spent the past two seasons on ABC’s country music drama Nashville, where she had been pushing — to no avail — to do the black version of the Connie Britton and Hayden Panettiere starrer. Then Empire came along. She wound up leaving Nashville and jumped to risky Empire, which she was warned about in advance. “I was warned that if this fails, they won’t let another all-black drama on TV for 20 years,” she said.

In terms of Fox’s feedback, Strong shared that the network — and all of News Corp. for that matter — had been on board from the start with nothing but support. Ten of Empire’s first 12 episodes had already been completed before the show launched and became an instant mega-hit before Fox had a major note.

Empire’ Star Jussie Smollett to Perform on ‘Lexus Verses and Flow’ Season 5

“The final hour of the [two-hour] finale, the network hated the script,” he said, recalling star Henson also had an issue with part of it. “[Empire showrunner] Ilene Chaiken and I wrote that script and we did this massive rewrite in two days. People loved the show at that point and I didn’t want to disappoint people with the finale.”

In terms of the show’s diversity — almost every episode of the series was written and directed by people of color, with the writers’ room equally representative as what’s on screen.

“For me, up until Empire, I was usually the only black writer in the room,” Calhoun noted. “So for years, I was carrying that torch. So to start on Empire and have that many black voices in the room … it was amazing. I started to realize we were able to get into the nuance of our culture. We were no longer just talking about the surface of our culture. We were able to get really down into it because we all were so familiar with it. Going to work felt like going to a family reunion. That family sense is important for your writers’ room to reflect the DNA of the show.”

Calhoun recalled all the actors meeting with the writers early on in season one and said the show’s diversity really hit her when Kaitlin Doubleday (Rhonda) came in. “She said, ‘This is our only white person on the show? And she’s not playing the ingénue or the lead detective? I don’t know what to do with it,'” she said.

In terms of stunt-casting — Empire has a long list of stars who have expressed interest in a cameo including Oprah Winfrey and Denzel Washington — Strong said that’s one of the big disagreements producers have on the show.

“I don’t think we need to stunt-cast as much but there’s pressure to,” he said, noting that there are times when it works, singling out Courtney Love’s arc.”I want to hire people who need the job [not a celebrity for whom] this is some fun thing they do for pocket change. … Then there are other people who like doing stunt-casting. I wouldn’t say it’s a source of tension but it’s a source of disagreement.”

As for Howard’s recent comments that Empire should include the word “ni–er,” Strong said not to expect to hear it anytime soon. “I disagree with Terrence, I don’t think we need to use that word on the show. If we were on cable, yes; but we’re not on cable, we’re a network show,” he said, recalling Daniels’ early pilot drafts that were laced with profanity. “It’s not a documentary on hip-hop, it’s a soap opera set in the hip-hop word there’s a heightened quality and that’s why you’re able to watch the show and not think about profanity.

Empire returns in the fall on Fox.