Bykat starprincess, writer at

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.If your guess was: “Empire’s ratings just defied all the laws of broadcast television to once again rise to a record number” … then you would be right.

Wednesday’s episode hit 12.9 million viewers and a huge 5.1 rating among adults 18-49. That’s up 6 percent from last week in the demo (which, of course, was a record rating too).

In total viewers, Empire has gone up every single week – six total – since its premiere. Among adults 18-49, the series has risen five out of six weeks. I asked one broadcast analyst for a historic comparison point to help put the latest gain into some kind of perspective compared to other dramas that have risen in the ratings over the years. The rep replied: “Don’t have any new historical references for its post-premiere growth. It has literally exceeded all Nielsen total viewer records to date.” In other words, after Empire broke that record a couple weeks ago where the hip-hop drama series posted more consecutive ratings gains than any other new broadcast show in at least 23 years, the rise of Empire has become unprecidented.

There is, however, one drama left for Empire to beat in the demo, and it’s not on broadcast – AMC’s The Walking Dead. Sunday’s hour had a 6.2 rating. Until a couple weeks ago, I would have assumed TWD would be out of reach of any other drama. Not anymore. The streets of Philly have been a fertile musical breeding ground for decades, so it’s not surprising that a row house near the corner of 48th and Spruce was the birthplace of the sound that transformed hip-hop and R&B for a generation — the Lucious Lyon Sound.

If you’re old enough to remember October 1997, then that time probably brings back memories of Life After Death, Wu-Tang Forever, and Wyclef’s The Carnival. That same month, a new album from a self-proclaimed drug slinger was burning up South Street. The raw, gritty street anthems of the colorfully named Lucious Lyon could be heard in clubs like Funkadelphia and the Lay-Up. Lucious remembers these days with a nostalgic smirk. “I used my old street contacts to get my music out there. Trunks of cars, barbershops, strip clubs. Every CD I pressed was seven dollars each.” When asked if he chose that price because seven is a lucky number, Lyon’s eyes narrow and he focuses with laser precision. “Seven is the number of truth. Of knowledge. It’s spiritual and timeless.”

“Please. He started at ten and people bargained his ass down to seven,” says an Empire source who’s been part of Lyon’s inner circle for years (and who requested to remain anonymous for this article). “Nah, but Lucious is a deep cat. Everything’s got meaning for him. He don’t do anything willy-nilly.”personelly i love this show cookie is phemnonamal. Lucious is endless and full of power.


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