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  • Premiered: 
    January 7, 2015
    (Click date to see TV listings for that day)

  • Network: Fox
  • Category: Series
  • Genre: Drama
  • Type: Live Action
  • Concept: 
    Created by Lee Daniels & Danny Strong 
  • Subject Matter: Workplace
  • Tags: music industry, family

Buy This Show on DVD or Watch Online

  • Click a button to buy a DVD at Amazon
  • Season 1
    • Amazon
  • Season 1 [Blu-ray]
    • Amazon
  • Season 2
    • Amazon
  • Season 3
    • Amazon
Legal Full Episodes
Not Available Online
(That We Know Of)

Plot Synopsis

Featuring both original and current music, EMPIRE centers on Lucious Lyon, a charismatic and savvy music superstar, who is about to take his company public, while his three sons and ex-wife all battle for the throne of Empire Entertainment. Lucious, the CEO of Empire Entertainment and a former street thug, is the king of hip-hop and an immensely talented artist. His reign has been unchallenged for years, but all that changes when he learns he has a disease that is going to render him crippled and incapacitated in a matter of three years. Now, he must groom one of his three sons to take over his crowning achievement -- without destroying his already fractured family. Lucious' favorite is his youngest son, Hakeem, a gifted musician and a spoiled playboy who values fame over hard work. The middle son, Jamal, is a sensitive soul and a musical prodigy who, unlike Hakeem, shies away from the spotlight. Jamal also happens to be gay, which infuriates and embarrasses his father. Andre, the eldest son, is CFO of Empire Entertainment. Wharton-educated with a brilliant business mind, Andre lacks the charisma that Lucious believes is crucial to running the company. But in his quest for power, Andre is assisted by his manipulative and like-minded wife, Rhonda. As Lucious prompts his sons to vie for the empire, his plans are thrown into chaos when his ex-wife, Cookie, mysteriously emerges seven years early from prison, where she's been for almost two decades. Brash and fearless, she sees herself as the sacrificial lamb who built this empire with Lucious and then took the fall for running the drugs that financed Lucious' early career. For now, Lucious remains firmly in control with the help of: his hard-working assistant, Becky; longtime friend and Chairman of the Board, Vernon, who offers advice and support; and Anika, the head of A&R for Empire -- and his current girlfriend. As the Lyons slug it out, an emotional chess game begins that will either cause the family's destruction or redemption. EMPIRE's original soundtrack is written and produced by legendary hip-hop hitmaker Timbaland. EMPIRE's household rating increased for twelve consecutive episodes -- its entire first season -- breaking the previous modern-day record held by NCIS, which had an increase in ratings for eight consecutive new episodes from May 10, 2005 through October 25, 2005 (spanning two seasons). Source: Original research using the database, which includes Nielsen household ratings for TV shows dating back to 1983. Season 2 of EMPIRE premiered on September 23, 2015 at 9pm ET/PT on FOX, picking up three months after the shocking arrest and incarceration of Empire Entertainment head Lucious Lyon. In the season opener, "The Devils Are Here" -- featuring guest stars Kelly Rowland, Chris Rock, Don Lemon, Al Sharpton, Andre Leon Talley, Marisa Tomei, Tyra Ferrell and Swiss Beatz -- Lucious is trying to run Empire from inside federal prison, while a headline-grabbing state prosecutor hangs her political ambitions on bringing him down -- no matter what it takes. Meanwhile, Cookie stages a star-studded #FreeLucious concert in his support, while scheming with Andre, Hakeem, Anika and the business savvy Mimi Whiteman to finalize the hostile takeover of Empire. Season 3 of EMPIRE premiered on Wednesday, September 21, 2016 at 9pm ET/PT on FOX, with guest stars French Montana and Birdman. The season opener, "Light in Darkness," picks up exactly where Season 2 ended -- Hakeem left at the altar, Lucious and Anika married and Anika and Rhonda fighting on the roof -- until someone falls. Also, Lucious pursues his music legacy with his streaming service, while clashing with his half-brother, Tariq, who is leading a federal task force investigating him. On Wednesday, March 22, 2017 at 9pm ET/PT, FOX debuted the Season 3 Spring premiere of EMPIRE. In the mid-season premiere, "Sound & Fury," after launching a deadly missile at Angelo, Lucious announces his new music project, Inferno, and puts everyone on notice -- especially Cookie, who then vows to knock him off his throne for good. The two engage in an epic clash -- fueled by a history of love, loyalty and betrayal. Meanwhile, Jamal befriends musician Tory Ash (guest star Rumer Willis) during his stay in rehab, Andre continues with his plan to take over EMPIRE, and Hakeem and Tiana battle Nessa for a spot in the music showcase. Guest Cast: Rumer Willis as Tory Ash, Taye Diggs as Angelo DuBois, Leslie Uggams as Leah Walker, Andre Royo as Thurston 'Thirsty' Rawlings, Eric Lane as Drop, Sierra A. McClain as Nessa, AzMarie Livingston as Chicken, Ezri Walker as Zeah, Juan Antonio as Philip and Tobias Truvillion as D-Major. Season 4 of EMPIRE premiered on Wednesday, September 27, 2017 at 8pm ET/PT on FOX, as Empire Entertainment embarks on a celebration of its 20th anniversary. Lucious makes his first public appearance after the explosion in Las Vegas, and all members of the Lyon family, as well as Lucious' nurse, Claudia (guest star Demi Moore), have their own interests in Lucious regaining his physical and mental faculties. While Lucious struggles with his recovery, Cookie begins to revisit the most challenging time of her life -- her 17 years in prison -- in a series of flashbacks. Throughout the season, Lucious, Cookie and their three sons will be forced to take a hard look at their choices, both past and present, in order to secure their legacy and save their Empire. In true Lyon fashion, Season Four will be filled with exciting new music, splashy events and high-profile guest stars. In addition to Moore's return, Phylicia Rashad will reprise her role as Diana Dubois, who, along with her son, Angelo (returning guest star Taye Diggs), launches an elaborate plan to take revenge on the Lyons. Forest Whitaker also join the cast for a multi-episode arc as Eddie Barker, a charismatic music icon and Lyon family friend.
On Wednesday, May 23, 2018 at 8pm ET/PT, FOX premiered "The Empire Unpossess'd," the Season 4 finale of EMPIRE, with guest stars Alfre Woodard and Forest Whitaker. As the Empire ownership bid presentation nears, Lucious must make a difficult decision to save the future of the company and his family, while Eddie shows no signs of backing down. However, Cookie reveals a potential upper hand in the power play for Empire, after doing a little digging into her past. Meanwhile, Andre makes a power play of his own, Hakeem's high spirits comes to a quick end due to a threat, Jamal and Tory struggle to cope with the success of their new music group, tension boils as the Lyons face Empire's most existential threat yet and someone's past mistakes leads to a deadly consequence. Additional guest stars include: Nicole Ari Parker as Giselle Sims-Barker, Chet Hanks as Blake Sterling, Mark l. Montgomery as Jackson Sterling, Sara Sevigny as Edna Bunnin, Will Kinnear as Leonard Bernstein, Pej Vahdat as Kelly Patel, and Kaitlin Doubleday as Rhonda Lyon. One week earlier -- on Monday, May 14 -- FOX announced that EMPIRE will return for its fifth season this Fall, continuing to air Wednesdays at 8pm.


Production & Distribution

  • Produced by Imagine Television
  • In association with 20th Century Fox Television

Births, Deaths & Weddings

  • September 21, 2016: Rhonda Lyon dies