Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Lee Daniels Admits Desire to Snag Oprah for Season 2 of ‘Empire’

taraji p henson & terrence howard (empire)

*If you haven’t tuned into “Empire,” count yourself among the minority.

Fox’s hip-hop “Dynasty” continues its game-changing trek of attracting new viewers with each episode as it heads toward its March 18 season one finale, the question is what does “Empire” have in store for season 2?

Chatting with The Hollywood Reporter, Fox Broadcasting’s David Madden mentioned that he “wouldn’t be surprised” to see “Empire” come back before mid-season. One thing that’s sure to please viewers is Madden’s admission that although he isn’t sure how many more, the addictive show will be back with more episodes than the first season’s 12 episodes.

And while more “Empire” episodes for season 2 are OK with co-creator Danny Strong, he stated that “given the nature of the storytelling and original music, it won’t be a full 22. On the opposing side is the show’s other creator Lee Daniels, who had no problem letting the Reporter know that he wants the number of episodes to remain at 12 and is down to fight the increase.

“Bring it on,” Daniels said.

Looking into the next season, Strong and “Empire” showrunner/producer Ilene Chaiken are active in increasing the show’s writing staff to handle the challenges ahead. For Strong that would mean courting emerging African-American talent.

“I wanted to bring in some playwrights because we have these delicious soap turns but we also have very layered character development,” he shared.

With Daniels, he’s got many ideas to share, which include a desire to bring in more of the poorer-class African-American experience into the storyline.

“I think we’ve seen the opulence,” he told the Reporter, “but now we have to go back to where they come from.”

In addition to Daniels’ requests, there are requests from potential guest stars and directors. Among those wanting to direct an “Empire” episode is Spike Lee.

“That’s when I realized what a beast Danny and I have created,” said Daniels, who also confessed to calling Oprah Winfrey many times to get her to on “Empire.”

“I tell him: ‘Lee, it’s not enough that you’ve taken every viewer possible on Wednesday night. Now you want me to leave my own network?’ ” says Winfrey, to which Daniels howls with laughter, “I’m wearing her down!

For more on Fox’s strategy for season 2 of “Empire,” click here.



  1. I’m wondering why Empire wasn’t on the Own or TV 1 networks in the first place. fox news is known to have the most bigoted host out there. Just a suggestion Lee Daniels, let a black owned network like Own or TV 1 get Empire for the next season.

  2. I think this is political and cultural and, let us not forget, racist baggage that is being dropped onto the show! I will not continue to watch the show if they make it silly. Successful celebrities and wealthy people do not frequent the hood. What happened to Jamal at ghetto a#@#
    studios is what generally happens when rich people go into the hood, remember the attempted mugging of Cookie. Flashbacks cannot carry the show! I think this is also an attempt to keep Cookie stuck in hood mode because she is very pretty and still looks like a ‘twentyssomething’ at age 44. Speaking as an African American woman who was 125 pounds in her heyday, I can say for sure, that attractive and especially pretty young black women are harassed and ‘hated’ when they have mainstream beauty or cross over appeal. People are uncomfortable with women like this and they want to diminish them and give prominence to black women who look more like the typical middleaged black woman. I now look like what people are more comfortable with, a black woman who weighs over 200 pounds.
    I know exactly what is going on here and I do not appreciate it. I had my time and now, I sit down and happily and proudly watch all of the young beautiful women who are shining, its their time!

    Team Cookie

  3. Yo….this may be a hit show, & blowing up fast?, but…..:slow down Johnny, slow waaaaaaaaay down.

  4. surprised he didn’t go straight to her network from the beginning, since oprah is the empress of homosexuality – I remember a show she had several years ago about how it’s okay for minor children to be cross-dressers – last time I watched anything with her name on it …

  5. I predict that this show is going to get stale soon. It’s also very predictable. Plus the homosexuality on this show is disgusting!

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