Will You Tune In To Empire’s Third Season ?

The season three premiere of Empire has finally arrived. So, what does that mean for its audience? On September 21st viewers and fans returned to the dramatic antics of Lucious, Cookie, Hakeem, Jamal and André. The melodramatic series filled with suspense, comedy, love and music captured the hearts of a multitude of people across the nation in its first season. Sending the viewership of the FOX network series through the roof.

Although the second season continued to unfold drama and secrets within the Lyon family the ratings dropped significantly in comparison to the series’ first season. A snag in Empire’s overall viewership decreased the show’s ratings dropping, from a overall average of 12,970,000 total viewers in season one to an overall average of 11,463,000 total viewers in season two.

So where does the show go from here? Will season three be Empire’s comeback season? Captivating its audience and having millions glued to their television every Wednesday night at 9 p.m. just as it did in the first season. Can Empire’s third season help dismantle racial barriers and earn Taraji P. Henson, the show’s lead actress, her first Emmy for the role of Cookie Lyon.

The 2016 Emmys aired this past Sunday with Henson being the only cast member of the show up for a nomination. Henson was beat out by Orphan Black star, Tatiana Maslany.

But did the show’s decrease in ratings have anything to do with it? Orphan Black’s fourth and most recent season had an average of 255,000 total viewers. Now even though Empire’s ratings decreased in its second season their average viewership was tremendously higher.

Taking into consideration that on average an estimated 11,000,000 people watched Empire more than they did Orphan Black, it was insulting that Henson was duped out of this award for the second year in a row. She was also up for Leading Actrees in a Drama Series at the 2015 Emmys where she was beat out by Viola Davis another African-American actress.

With the Oscars so white controversy surrounding animation and motion picture’s most gracious award it has become problematic that for the Emmys and t.v. series the same conversation needs to be had.

African Americans do not have the opportunity to accomplish an influential milestone such as winning an Emmy or an Oscar because there is limital opportunity given to them for movie and t.v. roles. With Henson and Davis being the only two African-Americans in their category it is difficult to deny this notion to be false.

Racial hierarchy plays a significance in why people have stopped tuning into Empire overall. How many times can you watch the come up story of African-Americans through violent behavior, or the loud, slick-talking African-American woman? Unless there is distinct difference between the drama and the storyline people are not going to tune in as much. The idea of diversity also plays a factor, because a universal cast leads to a universal audience.

So the ratings of season three all boils down to whether Lee Daniels, the show’s director can take a show with a predominantly African-American cast where a show like it has never gone.


Stephanie Carter is a senior English Major, Creative Writing minor attending Spelman College. Born and raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania her passion for writing has blossomed within her spirit every since she was a little girl.