Torrid Debut ‘Empire’ Fashion Collection

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(PCM) We adore both Torrid and Empire so this is a true win win!  Torrid, the fastest growing plus size fashion brand in America, and 20th Century Fox Consumer Products are pleased to announce the “Empire” fashion collection, featuring designs inspired by the hit TV show, which premieres its third season on FOX September 21. The limited edition collection launched and is available exclusively at Torrid.com.

Torrid’s “Empire” collection features looks inspired by the show’s five leading characters: Cookie Lyon, Anika Calhoun, Rhonda Lyon, Porsha Taylor and Becky Williams. Each piece is flawlessly designed for women sizes 10 to 30, letting them channel their favorite characters: Cookie’s diva with a capital ‘D’ extravagance, Anika’s sly sophistication, Rhonda’s fierce fashion sense, Porsha’s urban cool and Becky’s understated glam.

A closer look at each piece reveals intricate details: the ombre hues of Cookie’s luxurious faux fur coat, lace-up detailing on her curve-hugging blazer and pants, the zip-up side slit in Anika’s siren red dress. Sexy silhouettes demand attention in bold colors and custom prints. The collection is bound to be a smash hit with Torrid and EMPIRE fans alike.

“We’re huge fans of ‘Empire’ and our customers love it too,” says Kate Horton, SVP, General Merchandising Manager at Torrid. “So, we’re super proud to have designed this ‘Empire’ fashion collection. Now women of all different shapes and sizes can dress like the show’s leading characters: Cookie, Anika, Rhonda, Porsha and Becky.”

Entering its third season, “Empire” continues to shatter records, finishing the second season as the No. 1 show on broadcast television. Named a Top 10 Television Program of the Year by the American Film Institute, “Empire” was the only broadcast series to earn a Golden Globe Award nomination this past year in the category of Best Television Series – Drama. Additionally, Taraji P. Henson won the Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series – Drama and recently was nominated for an Emmy Award, for the second year in a row, in the category of Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series. Also, the Season One soundtrack was nominated for a 2016 Grammy Award for Best Compilation Soundtrack for Visual Media.

The 12-piece “Empire” fashion collection includes:

· Lace Maxi Dress $78.90

· Ombre Faux Fur Coat $118.90

· Lace-Up Blazer $68.90

· Lace-Up Pant $64.90

· Faux Fur Stole $34.00

· Crisscross Back Jumpsuit $78.90

· Leopard Print Asymmetrical Dress $68.90

· V-Neck Bodycon Dress $68.90

· Hooded Sweatshirt Dress With Faux Fur $58.90

· Plaid Cropped Sweater $44.90

· Plaid Pencil Skirt $58.90

· Floral Skater Dress $75.90

· Colorblock Swing Dress $74.90

The post Torrid Debut ‘Empire’ Fashion Collection also appeared on PCM Lifestyle.

20th Century Fox Television Reveals Full San Diego Comic Con Slate

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(PCM) 20th Century Fox Television has revealed their highly anticipated slate for San Diego Comic Con International and they are bringing a whopping 13 series to this year’s jam-packed convention. We are thrilled to learn that there will be a special screening of the upcoming psychological TV thriller “The Exorcist” with stars Alfonso Herrera, Ben Daniels, Geena Davis and writer/producer Jeremy Slate on hand.

Other new series and specials coming with 20th Century Fox Television to SDCC will be “24: Legacy”  the spin-off series of the hit Kiefer Sutherland show with Legacy stars Corey Hawkins, Miranda Otto, Jimmy Smits and 24 creators/producers Howard Gordon, Manny Coto and Evan Katz. There will also be a first look at the upcoming “Rocky Horror Picture Show” reboot which will premiere later this fall with cast members Christina Milian, Victoria Justice, Ryan McCarten, Laverne Cox, Reeve Carney, Staz Nair and EPs Lou Adler, Gail Berman and Kenny Ortega on hand.

There will be some special behind-the-scenes footage and an all new clip from “Prison Break” and stars Wentworth Miller, Dominic Purcell, Sarah Wayne Collins, Robert Knepper and producer Vaun Wilmott will be in attendance.  There will also be a sneak preview of the live action-animated hybrid show Son of Zorn featuring the voice of Jason Sudeikis as a Pacific Ocean island warrior who returns to Orange County to win back his wife and teenage son. Scheduled for the panel are Son of Zorn stars Cheryl Hines, Tim Meadows, Johnny Pemberton and EP Sally McKenna and EP/director Eric Appel.

In addition to the new series/specials, 20th Century Fox will also be highlighting many of their returning shows to SDCC as well. There will be a very special final appearance from “Bones” with Emily Deschanel, David Boreanaz, TJ Thyne, Michaela Conlin, Tamara Taylor, John Boyd and EPs Jonathan Collier and Michael Peterson. 20th Century Fox’s full slate can be found below:

American Dad! — Live table read. Cast Scott Grimes, Dee Bradley Baker, Rachael MacFarlane, Wendy Schaal, EPs Matt Weitzman and Brian Boyle.

Bob’s Burgers — Never before seen footage with creator/EP Loren Bouchard, EP Jim Dauterive, and cast H. Jon Benjamin, Dan Mintz, Eugene Merman, John Roberts, Kristen Schaal and Larry Murphy.

Family Guy — Alex Borstein, Mike Henry and EPs Rich Appel, Alec Sulkin and Steve Callaghan.

The Last Man on Earth — A tease of season three with Will Forte, Kristen Schaal, January Jones, Mel Rodriguez, Mary Steenburgen and Cleopatra Coleman.

Salem — Also a tease of season three with Shane West, Janet Montgomery, Seth Gabel, Iddo Goldberg, Elise Eberly and EPs Brannon Braga and Adam Simon.

Scream Queens — Season 2 of the series from Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk, and Ian Brennan centers around an abandoned hospital purchased by Dean Murch (Jamie Lee Curtis) and the Chanels are her employees. It’s set two years after last season. On tap are stars Curtis, Emma Roberts, Lea Michele and more.

The Simpsons — Panel on Season 28 as the series heads toward the 600 episode mark. Creator Matt Groening, EPs Al Jean and Matt Selman, supervising director Mike B. Anderson, David Silverman and Nancy Cartwright will be in San Diego.

John Stamos Will Join The Cast Of FOX’s ‘Scream Queens’

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(FOX) John Stamos (“Grandfathered,” “Fuller House”) has been cast in a series regular role in the upcoming second season of “Scream Queens”, the comedy-horror series from award-winning executive producers Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk and Ian Brennan.

Premiering Tuesday, Sept. 20 (9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT), on FOX, Season Two of “Scream Queens” graduates from the college campus and into an all-new location, as a terrifyingly funny mystery will begin once again. Set in a hospital, where some of the most fascinating and bizarre medical cases are under observation, Stamos will play Dr. Brock Holt, the hospital’s brilliant, but secretive, head surgeon. Stamos previously collaborated with Murphy in guest-starring roles on the comedies “Glee” and “The New Normal.”

As previously announced, Golden Globe Award nominee Jamie Lee Curtis, Emma Roberts, Lea Michele, Abigail Breslin, Keke Palmer, Glen Powell and Niecy Nash are set to reprise their Season One characters. Additional casting to be announced.

Emmy Award-nominated actor and producer John Stamos continues to captivate audiences with an array of multi-faceted performances across television, film and theater. With a career spanning 30 years, Stamos has become one of the most revered television stars of his generation. In 2016, Stamos won the People’s Choice Award for Favorite Actor in a New TV Series, for his role on FOX’s “Grandfathered,” and was awarded TV Land’s Timeless Icon Award, presented to him by longtime friend and mentor Garry Marshall. Earlier this year, “Fuller House,” a multi-camera comedy spin-off of iconic comedy “Full House,” premiered, with Stamos serving as a producer and guest star. The series was recently renewed for a second season. Stamos’ additional television credits include “General Hospital,” “Necessary Roughness,” “Galavant,” “Entourage,” “Two and A Half Men” and “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit,” as well as the Emmy and Peabody Award-winning drama “ER.” As a producer, Stamos is in development with Twentieth Century Fox and Academy Award-winning producers Neil Meron and Craig Zadan, on a musical feature set to the songs of the Beach Boys.

Stamos also has established a strong stage presence, beginning with his Broadway debut in “How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying” as “J. Pierrepont Finch.” Other Broadway credits include Gore Vidal’s Tony Award-nominated political play, “The Best Man,” with James Earl Jones; Roundabout Theatre Company’s “Bye Bye Birdie”; and the Tony Award-winning musicals “Nine” and “Cabaret.” Additional theater credits include “Hairspray” and “The Little Mermaid” at the Hollywood Bowl. A gifted drummer, singer and musician, Stamos occasionally tours with the legendary band the Beach Boys, of which he’s been a part for 30 years. As an advocate for Project Cuddle, Stamos serves as the non-profit’s national spokesperson and Chairman of the advisory board, and has been a supporter of the charity for nearly 10 years.

“Like” SCREAM QUEENS on Facebook at facebook.com/ScreamQueensFOX. Follow the series on Twitter @ScreamQueens and join the discussion using #screamqueens. See photos and videos on Instagram by following @ScreamQueensFOX.

Full List Of Cancelled TV Shows By Network

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(PCM) It is a sad time of year for TV fans, as we learn the untimely fate of some of our favorite shows. We must face the reality that although we may love them, some shows have been ultimately given the ax. We are especially sad to see that ABC’s Nashville and The Muppets didn’t make the cut, but here’s hoping that they will find a home at another network, as rumor has it, Nashville is being shopped around.

Below you can find a complete list of the cancelled TV shows for the 2016-2017 season broken down by network:

ABC
Of Kings and Prophets (was pulled after only two episodes)
The Family (after 1 season)
Blood and Oil (after 1 season)
The Muppets (after 1 season)
Wicked City (after 1 season)
The Whispers (after 1 season)
Agent Carter (after 2 seasons)
Galavant (after 2 seasons)
Nashville (after 4 seasons)
Castle (after 8 seasons)

CBS
Angel from Hell (after 1 season)
CSI: Cyber (after 1 season)
Extant (after 2 seasons)
Under the Dome (after 3 seasons)
Mike & Molly (after 6 season)
The Good Wife (after 7 seasons)
Person of Interest (after 5 seasons)

CW
Containment (after 1 season, was initially announced to be limited.)
Beauty and the Beast (after 4 seasons)

FOX
Grandfathered (after 1 season)
The Grinder (after 1 season)
Bordertown (after 1 season)
Minority Report (after 1 season)
Second Chance (after 1 season)
Knock Knock Live (after 1 season)
Cooper Barrett’s Guide to Surviving Life (after 1 season)
American Idol (after 15 seasons)

NBC
Heroes Reborn (after 1 season)
The Player (after 1 season)
You, Me, and the Apocalypse (after 1 season)
Truth Be Told (after 1 season)
Best Time Ever with Neil Patrick Harris (after 1 season)
Mr. Robinson (after 1 season)

Some shows still remain in limbo with no announcements being made about renewal or cancellation such as “Limitless” and “Undercover Boss” on CBS, “The X-Files” on FOX and “The Last Man Standing” on ABC. So perhaps we can hold out some hope…we are looking at you FOX….please give us some more of The X-Files!

 

Catching Up With American Idol Winner Trent Harmon

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(PCM) The lights were dimmed for a final time and host Ryan Seacrest made one last dream come true, as Trent Harmon, 25, from Amory, MS, was named the 15th and final American Idol in the history-making series finale live from Dolby Theatre.

Harmon is the 15th Idol hopeful to win the prestigious American Idol title, joining the ranks of Kelly Clarkson, Ruben Studdard, Fantasia, Carrie Underwood, Taylor Hicks, Jordin Sparks, David Cook, Kris Allen, Lee DeWyze, Scott McCreery, Phillip Phillips, Candace Glover, Caleb Johnson and Nick Fradiani.

President Barack Obama kicked off the finale with a videotaped statement that paid tribute to the series and its impact on the nation. During the show, Season Four winner Carrie Underwood and Idol judge Keith Urban sang “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around”; judge Harry Connick, Jr. sang “What A Wonderful World” with New Orleans student Marley Fletcher; judge Jennifer Lopez performed her new single, “Ain’t Your Mama”; fan-favorite contestant William Hung sang the chorus of “She Bangs”; and in a surprise appearance, former judge Simon Cowell returned to join Paula Abdul and Randy Jackson in paying tribute to host Ryan Seacrest.

The finale also saw epic performances by the Top 10 finalists alongside Idol alumni superstars, including Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood and Jennifer Hudson plus Ruben Studdard, Fantasia, Taylor Hicks, Jordin Sparks, David Cook, Kris Allen, Lee DeWyze, Scotty McCreery, Phillip Phillips, Candice Glover, Caleb Johnson, Nick Fradiani, Ace Young, Allison Iraheta, Amber Holcomb, Blake Lewis, Bo Bice, Brandon Rogers, Bucky Covington, Carly Smithson, Casey James, Chris Daughtry, Clark Beckham, Clay Aiken, Colton Dixon, Constantine Maroulis, Danny Gokey, Diana DeGarmo, Elliott Yamin, George Huff, James Durbin, Jessica Sanchez, Joshua Ledet, Justin Guarini, Katharine McPhee, Kellie Pickler, Kimberley Locke, Kree Harrison, LaToya London, Lauren Alaina, Melinda Doolittle, Pia Toscano, Sanjaya, Skylar Laine, Tamyra Gray and more as they returned to the stage that started it all to celebrate the Grand Finale.

We caught up with newly crowned American Idol Trent Harmon the morning after his big win to discuss his time on the show, the competition and just what he plans on doing next!

On who he would have loved to sing with on the finale

TRENT HARMON: Elton John

On what his plans are for his upcoming album

TH: I sing blue-eyed soul. I talked it over with Mr. Scott, and he said Justin Timberlake is thinking about making a country album. So, define country in 2016. I think it could be whatever you want it to be, so we’re going to try to make an album that country supporters would pick up. Country supporters, they go to shows, they go to festivals, they buy CDs, they download stuff. If you can make it in country, you can have a career.

On how he is feeling after the big win and it being such a highly emotional moment 

TH: Well, I’ve got sleep scheduled for next Friday at 2:00, but I really feel like it hasn’t sunk in yet. It hasn’t really sunk in because this morning when I hopped out of bed, I jumped in the shower, I started doing my warm ups and started practicing my song, and I realized that today I don’t have to do that anymore.

I’m kind of realizing that I can decompress a little bit at a time, and I don’t know how long it’ll take. It may take a week or a month before I really come down out of, I hate to say, like a PTSD, but I’m still kind of in that mode where I feel like at any moment I could get cut, but I can’t get cut anymore.

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On if he were surprised by his win and what he said to La’Porsha during their final hug on the finale stage

TH: When I auditioned in July, I didn’t expect to win, but I prepared to win at every facet of this competition.

I told La’Porsha no matter what name comes out of Ryan’s mouth, we’re going to hug until they separate us. I don’t care whose name gets called, Porsha, we just won a car, and you don’t win cars every day, so we’re going to be okay, Porsha.

On the hard work that went into being an American Idol contestant

TH: I wake up, go to bed, wake up in the middle of the night. If I am awake or asleep I am rehearsing. If I have two minutes to myself to do anything, I am in rehearsal mode. I didn’t know what I was doing, but that’s what it took. I was too dumb to know that I was in go mode all the time. But it paid off.

On when he found out he could do falsetto with his voice and old classic singers he is influenced by

TH: I just really learned that I could do things with my voice that I didn’t know I could do, probably, middle to the last few years of my college experience, so just in the last two to four years. I think I always heard the notes in my head while I’d be listening to Smokey Robinson and The Miracles or I’d be listening to The Temptations.

My grandma always played a lot of Temptations and a lot of Michael Jackson, Jackson 5, back in the day when I’d be at her house and we’d be cooking, and I would hear those notes in my head that I would want to sing, but I never tried to sing them, and one day they just jumped out of my mouth.

On what the song “Amazing Grace” means to him

TH: I keep “Amazing Grace” in my back pocket no matter where I go, whether it’s a Christian event that I’m at or if it’s not. If it’s just a secular event. I don’t know. Maybe it’s just because I know the words to it or because the words mean something to just about anybody whether you have any religious beliefs or not. That song means something.

There’s a reason it’s called a classic. There’s a reason that all these songs that we do are called classics. I would consider that one a classic, too, and I’ve just sung it at so many different things that have meant so much to me; that one’s just special to me.

That was the first one that my mom said, “Hey Trent, sing this part right here.” And I sang it, and she said, “Well, can you switch over and sing this part right here?” And that was when she realized that I could sing harmony. When I was four or five years old, and she realized something that I didn’t even realize at that early of an age.

On what he was surprised to learn about himself during his journey on American Idol

TH: I’ve always thought to myself that if I could ever get to the point, there’s so many intangibles that are encompassed within this reality singing competition. It’s not so much singing, there’s so much that goes into it. I would say singing would be less than 10% of it. But I knew that I could hang in the singing department, but I didn’t know that I could do interviews.

Nobody has really coached on how to talk to people in a public setting, and so sometimes, like right now, I’m talking to you having a conversation, and I’ve never done this before in my life. That has really surprised me, and it surprised my parents too. They said Trent, you’ve talked to more people through interviews than you’ve talked to us in your whole 25 years of life. Who taught you how to do that?

On the most surreal moment of the entire Idol experience

TH: I think whenever I turned around and I saw my mom and dad and my sister and my puppy dog walk out onto the stage two weeks ago, it was strange because it was like, I’m out here. I know that I’m out here doing this, but when they walked on the stage, I was like wow. We looked good as a collective unit; as a family. We looked like we were doing stuff in the Harmon collective unit. I’m doing something for my family. So that was pretty surreal.

On advice he has received from past Idol contestants and winners

TH: I guess, thankfully, most of the Idols that I got to talk to, they appreciated. They said, “Man, you seem pretty genuine. Don’t ever, ever quit that. Don’t ever get out of that head. Don’t ever, ever quit that.” And they didn’t give me very much advice in the moment.

I was lucky enough to exchange numbers with a lot of people that I never thought I’d have their name in my phone book, and they said look here, text me. And I could tell that they meant it. They said text me at any time of the day or night, ask me a question.

I got to exchange numbers with Jordin Sparks, and Ruben Studdard. It was just surreal for them to reach out and say, hey man, you’re the last one. We want to help you any way that we can. And I think they mean it.

On a possible move to Nashville

TH:  I’m sure that I will float between Nashville and Mississippi and Arkansas for quite a while. I’ve been doing the float between two states for the last four or five years, and I’ve gotten pretty good at it if you manage your time wisely, but I’m down to live wherever I’m happy. If that happens to be in Nashville for the next few years, then I’ll live in Nashville. If that happens to be Belize, then I’ll live in Belize.

On his relationship to country music

TH: I was just telling Mr. Scott last night. I said, man I don’t think you fully realize how much country music I listen to because whenever I really got the opportunity to pick the song myself, 100% myself, I was doing country songs on the show.

Now that was only sprinkled in very, very rarely because we always get to pick our own songs, but there would be influence from other people as well, but I sang a couple Chris Stapletons, and at that point, I think it was fully realized that this guy is confusing enough as it is, he talks so country but then he sings like a soul singer, well now he’s actually singing country.

I’ve always enjoyed all the classics. I love Conway Twitty. I’ve always been a big Conway Twitty fan. I’m a big Elvis fan. Elvis did country. I’m a Ray Charles fan. Ray Charles made a country album. So that’s kind of a point in case right there.

Define what country is in 2016. I mean, Ray Charles kind of broke that statement a long time. Justin Timberlake’s working on a country album. So, I feel like with being able to sing multiple genres is going to help me moving forward to make a country album that would be palatable to a lot of different people.

On plans to co-write his album

TH: I am a songwriter, but that will be decided by the Powers That Be. I don’t always have to have the best idea coming from myself. I just want the best idea. So, we’ll have to see where it leads us.

On his redo performance of “Chandelier” and advice given to him by Sia

TH: Sia said that she wrote this song from a state of struggling with alcoholism and that if I had a family member that struggled with alcoholism that that would be a route that I could sing that song from. And while I did lose a family member this year that struggled with alcoholism, I tried to go down that path and it was just too morbid. It was too sad. I didn’t want to. I sang it from a happy state.

When I asked her, I said, can I do that, this is your song. She said this is your song. For 90 seconds, this is your song. You sing it however you want to sing it. And I don’t think she meant for that just to apply to “Chandelier.” I think she was telling me to take that forward for the rest of my life. Even though I might be doing a cover song at some point, don’t sing it just as from the same head that the person that wrote it or performed it and made it popular from. Pick something from it. Find a lyric in it.

My favorite lyric from the Parson James song that I sang last week was, “It’s enough of a fight just staying alive anyways,” and I told Parson that. I said, “Man, that’s my favorite line in the song,” and he said, “Really? That’s crazy.” You just find a line that pulls to you. Pulls on your heart strings, and you go with it.

On his love for God and his family and how it plays an emotional role in his performances

TH: First of all, if anyone has made it through what I consider, I’d say the only two jobs that I would consider to be tougher than making it through American Idol boot camp, which is what I have aptly named it after the show’s been over, would be a preacher and/or a soldier. That would be the only two jobs that I would consider to be harder than what we just completed.

But if you can go through what we just did and not believe in something—I happen to believe in God, and then I would pray. Had a really simple prayer, I would say, especially when I had mono because I was pretty quarantined from the rest of the cast. I would say well, it’s just me and you. It’s just me and you God, and I kept that on my brain at all times when I didn’t have anybody else.

I didn’t have my parents out here with me, and it was just me, so I feel like if you could make it through this competition without believing in something, I wouldn’t say I’m impressed, I would say I’m kind of scared because I don’t know what you are. You’re super human, because I couldn’t have done it without him. That’s for sure.

‘Empire’ Show Runner Ilene Chaiken Talks Upcoming Season And More!

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(PCM) We were absolutely thrilled to catch up with “Empire” show runner Illene Chaiken to chat about the upcoming season of the FOX hit drama and perhaps get a few answers to some of the burning questions that were left at the end of last season. “Empire” will premiere on Wednesday, March 30 at 9:00 pm!

On the Jamal/Skye hook-up and why we did not actually see the hook-up take place on camera

ILENE CHAIKEN: We didn’t think it was necessary to see it happen. It was the last moment of the episode, and it’s the way that we often do our last moments—kind of a big, gasp-worthy moment in which a lot of things are implicit. Sometimes we do sex implicitly.

On the show’s sexual fluidity and how it could apply to other characters on the series other than just Jamal

IC: I think that you never know where people are going to go in terms of their sexuality until they go there, and people often don’t know themselves. So absolutely we could explore sexuality with other characters, not just with Jamal, and I’m sure we will.

On Andre’s character and the casting of Trai Byers

IC: It was the writers who chose to tell the story of Andre dealing with issues of faith, but Trai is a man of faith, and it’s very important to him that that story is told in an honest and insightful way. So we discuss it with him and do our best to make sure that he or any actor who feels strongly about a subject we’re tackling is comfortable with the story we’re telling and believes in it. It doesn’t mean that he determines the story, it doesn’t mean that we’re telling the story of Trai Byers, but he certainly has input in how we tell that story.

On where we can expect to see Andre’s character headed after the tragic events in the mid-season finale

IC: Well, as you know, as everybody knows, in our mid-season finale something tragic happens to Andre’s wife. I won’t talk about the outcome, but I certainly will say that it causes him or necessitates his grappling with issues of faith. Why would such a thing happen to me? What does it mean to my faith? Will I be able to continue down that path in light of what’s happened?

On the possibility of a dramatic cliffhanger at the end of this season, as well as details about the story arc surrounding who pushed Rhonda, why and when we will find out

IC: I’m not going to tell you when we’ll find out. I will say that the story arc plays a large role at times, and it ebbs and flows in terms of how prominent it is in the relationships among the characters, but ultimately, in the end, it plays a large, significant, and I would hope very surprising role.

On whether or not there is an urgency to kill off character or have some sort of explosive cliffhanger in the season finale

IC: There’s certainly not an urge or an urgency, rather, as you put it, to kill someone off. We never said, “Oh, we have to kill somebody.” Should that happen, it will happen organically. I’m not saying that it does happen, but we didn’t set out to do it.

In terms of the need to top ourselves, I think we’ve—it’s not how we’re approaching it. We’ve gone big, we sometimes try to just follow the stories and let the stories lead, and I think we’re trying to mix it up so that we don’t constantly have to top ourselves and become more and more outlandish. Rather, we’d like to be true to story, true to character.

On guest stars appearing on the series 

IC: Far fewer guest stars in the back half of the season than there were in the beginning of the season.  The eight episodes that begin on March 30th are much more about the family, and the guest stars that are in those episodes are there to serve as the stories and are driven by the stories.  There’s not an instance in which we said, oh, so-and-so wants to be on the show.  We have to write something for her.  Every single person that appears on the show is on the show because we’re telling a story.

On the criticism about the pacing of the first half of the season and any changes for the back half

IC: Well, we haven’t intentionally changed the pacing, but I think that maybe the pacing changed by dint of the stories. We really are very focused on the family, on telling the family stories and telling them thoroughly and on following through on every thread that we’ve set up.

On “Empire” tackling the Black Lives Matter Movement and whether or not they will delve into politics with this being an election year

IC: Well, we haven’t begun breaking season three yet. I would say that it’s safe to anticipate that you’ll always hear political discussions on Empire because it’s in the fabric of this world and in the lives and minds of the characters we’re talking about. I don’t know that we’re telling a story explicitly that’s about a political subject, but I think the show by definition lives in that world of culture and politics.

On Lucious’s tolerance for Jamal’s gay lifestyle and wanting him to change

IC: Given where Lucious began in the pilot, the depth of his homophobia, Lucious has evolved. He’s become more open. I hate the word “tolerant,” but in Lucious’ case it might be an apt word. He’s tolerant, but he certainly hasn’t vanquished homophobia in his own world view. It will come out in different ways. He’ll take steps forward and he’ll backslide from time to time because that’s who he is and that’s how life goes.

On Anika’s storyline and it’s upcoming direction

IC: Well, the decision, it was a story that we all believed in. We were talking about how Anika would continue to stay in this story and our fundamental belief about Anika is that the thing that she wants most of all is to be a Lyon. That’s been the thing that she’s wanted from the moment we met her. When she lost Lucious she clung to that hope and pursued it in other ways, in ways that ultimately were not healthy for her. She may have become slightly unhinged for a little while, but we see her as a grounded character who struggles to regain her footing in this crazy and abusive family, sometimes abusive family that she so much wants to be a part of.

On the pacing of the first two episodes of the upcoming season and conclusions that were reached

IC: We like to think that each episode is self-contained in a way, some of them more so than others, but we always are telling stories in an ongoing way, and most stories in life don’t conclude. So while there are conclusions and finite moments, everything—life goes on in our stories, and things that were begun as far back as the pilot will come home to roost in episode 21, for example.

On which character’s arc she is excited to explore in the upcoming season 

IC: I could never say that I have a favorite character because it changes from episode to episode or from storyline to storyline. The story that I’m most excited about in the latter half of this season or the character whom I’ve most enjoyed is Lucious. He goes through such extraordinary things in such a deep and intense way, and Terrance Howard’s performance in those episodes is just remarkable. I’m really, really excited for people to watch and see where we go with this character and where Terrance takes him.

On racial inclusion being a hot topic in the entertainment industry and “Empires” importance to the issue

IC: The show is a TV show. It’s entertainment, but we are commenting on what’s happening in the world, and I feel like we’re a part of the conversation. I think that it’s important in that millions of people watch the show, feel represented, feel that perhaps their voices that aren’t heard elsewhere are being represented on this show, and that’s exciting for us and I suppose in some way important.

On the show’s popularity and multi-cultural cast generating an audience

IC: I believe that the multi-racial cast is a part of why there’s such a large audience. I think that it’s because the show is telling stories that haven’t been told before, and audiences, diverse audiences, come because it’s something fresh and new, because we’re really talking about something that’s meaningful and shining a light on lives and experiences that haven’t been represented in this genre on television before.

On finding the line between the fun soap opera aspects of the series to the more dramatic and serious character aspects and it’s challenge

IC: It’s the greatest challenge of the show and ultimately, I think, I hope the thing that makes it work, that we can take these big swings and at the same time tell stories and portray characters with nuance and insight. We do work really hard to find a way to make both of those things live within the same world of the show and feel like they’re a part of the same world.

One of the greatest opportunities in doing this show is portraying those character nuances, those complexities of character, not simply telling the story of a gay character and saying that’s all there is to him—he’s the gay character—but talking about sexuality as a complex thing that’s unique to every individual.

On learning more about Lucious’s back story and early life

IC: Lucious’ back story, Lucious’ life story is a very big part of the second half of season two. A lot will be revealed. It will have repercussions and huge consequences for everyone in the family. Lucious is the start of Empire—his story, where he comes from, and why he is who he is, is what the show is all about in so many ways just in the way that children are in part a result of their parents’ experiences.

On the challenge of keeping up with the show’s amazing ratings numbers

IC: We really can’t think about those numbers when work. We try to focus exclusively on the stories we’re telling and the episodes that we’re shooting, and we try to do them as well as we possibly can. We certainly don’t make decisions based on the ratings. We look at the work we’ve done. If we think that we’ve gone off course, we course correct, and we’ve done that once or twice this season, but the ratings are a thing that belong to someone else. Other people worry about those. I worry about telling these stories.

On exploring side characters such as Porsha, Becky and Cookie’s sisters

IC: All of those characters you just mentioned are in the latter half of the season. They’re part of our world. They’re the characters of Empire, so yes, you will be seeing them. We also are running the Porsha/Becky B sides promos because in the amount of time that we have to tell these stories we wish we could tell more Porsha/Becky stories, and it was a great, fun thing to be able to spend a little bit of time just with those two girls, seeing how they are separated apart from the stories that occupy most of our television.

On what is going to happen to Lyon Dynasty with Hakeem taking over Empire

IC: Well, I don’t want to give too much away before the two episodes have aired, but you’ve seen the episodes in which Cookie sells Lyon Dynasty back to empire and folds it in. Lyon Dynasty will continue to exist as a sub-label under Empire. I think Andre gives the business rationale for that which is modeled after a number of things that have happened in the real world of the music business.

 

 

 

 

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