TV Tango Search


|              FREE: Ask a TV Expert



  • 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.

The sophomore season 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.

The fourth season 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.

Season 5 of EMPIRE premiered on Wednesday, September 26, 2018 at 8pm ET/PT on FOX. In the season opener, "Steal from the Thief," two years after losing Empire to Eddie Barker, Cookie and Lucious are still in the midst of picking up the pieces. The family is now completely dispersed and coping in their own ways after experiencing unimaginable tragedies. Meanwhile, in an effort to reclaim the Lyons' position in the music industry, Cookie sets her eyes on a talented new singer and rapper, Treasure. After a three-month break, EMPIRE returned with new episodes on Wednesday, March 13, 2019 at 8pm ET/PT on FOX. In the previous episode, the winter finale in December, the Lyon family's financial security was threatened before the deadline for their LFM showcase; Jamal was conflicted with Kai's research into Empire's activity; and Hakeem and Tiana finally agreed on how they should progress their relationship. Now, in the spring premiere, "My Fault Is Past," with the control of Empire within reach again, the Lyons must pull out all the stops to prove Lucious and Becky's innocence in the datamining scandal. Meanwhile, Cookie struggles with Lucious' past and Jeff Kingsley's place in it, Jamal and Kai (guest star Toby Onwumere) try to figure out where they stand and a mystery begins to unravel.

EMPIRE returned for its sixth and final season on Tuesday, September 24, 2019 at 9pm ET/PT on FOX. In the season opener, "What Is Love," Lucious, who is now a wanted fugitive, is on the run from the Feds. Cookie keeps busy by focusing on her brand outside of Empire, which now includes a daytime talk show and a community center. Andre, currently sitting on the Empire throne, is confronted by several people who now want to get in on the company and Hakeem sets his sights on the lead role in the first EMPIRE movie. Meanwhile, Becky and Giselle search for their first Bossy Media artist. Guest Cast: Amanda Detmer as Tracy Kingsley, Kiandra Richardson as Yana and Tai David as "A List Musician." After a three-month break, EMPIRE returned for its Season 6 mid-season premiere on Tuesday, March 3, 2020 at 9pm ET/PT on FOX. In the spring premiere, "Can't Truss 'Em," the Lyons' world is turned upside down as they face a loss, which forces one Lyon to deal with an unresolved trauma from the past. Meanwhile, Andre makes an important decision about his health, family and career and Devon confronts Tiana about her relationship with Hakeem. Also, a shocking revelation about the future of the Lyons is revealed. Guest Cast: Tasha Smith as Carol, Keesha Sharp as Dr. Paula Wick, Leslie Uggams as Leah Walker, Kiandra Richardson as Yana, David Banner as Philly Street, Diamond White as LaLa, Alexandra Gray as Melody, Robert Ri'chard as Julian, Claudette Burchett as Juanita and Amanda Detner as Tracy Kingsley.
On Tuesday, April 21, 2020 at 9pm ET/PT, FOX premiered "Home Is on the Way," the series finale of EMPIRE. In the midst of the Bossyfest launch and the fight to regain control of Empire, Cookie reflects on her life and the woman she has become. Lucious finds it impossible to deny his feelings for Cookie, while continuing to support Yana (guest star Kiandra Richardson) and her rise to stardom. When the Lyons face their biggest threat yet, Lucious prepares for the battle of his life and realizes that in the end, family is what matters the most.

One week earlier -- on Tuesday, April 14 -- EMPIRE co-creators Lee Daniels and Danny Strong expressed their gratitude to the cast and the crew for six years of dedication. Though the series, originally picked up for a 20-episode final season, will wrap up its run a few weeks early due to the Coronavirus shutdown. Daniels and Strong strongly alluded that the Lyon family's story may not be be completely done.

"The success of EMPIRE and bringing the Lyon family to broadcast television will always be one of the proudest achievements of my career. This show is the definition of breaking barriers. Thank you to our incredible cast, especially Terrence and Taraji, along with our amazing writers and tireless crew, for all of their hard work and bringing this story to life," Daniels said in a statement.

"I think there's more to do with these characters, and I'm heartbroken we aren't getting to shoot the finale we wanted -- at least not yet," the filmmaker hinted. "But you know what they say in television? Stay tuned! To the Empire!"

Strong echoed Daniels' sentiments, praising the "incredible cast...and crew" for all their accomplishments during its run.

"The episode airing on April 21 was never meant to be the series finale, but due to current events it will likely be the last one our fans will see for a while. "We had an ending for the series planned that we all loved, and hopefully someday we'll be able to film it and give the series its proper conclusion. But we hope everyone tunes in to our last original episode, because the work done by our cast and crew deserves to be seen by the widest audience possible. Big thank you to Fox for being our home for these many years. And here's hoping this isn't the end!"


Production & Distribution

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

Births, Deaths & Weddings

  • September 21, 2016: Rhonda Lyon dies
  • December 13, 2017: Angelo DuBois dies
  • May 2, 2018: Shine Johnson dies
  • May 23, 2018: Anika Calhoun dies
  • May 23, 2018: Tory Ash dies
  • April 21, 2020: Yana dies
  • April 21, 2020: Damon Cross dies