Fox has picked up Empire for a fifth season. The hip-hop family drama, from creators Lee Daniels and Danny Strong, Imagine Television and 20th Century Fox TV, was an instant pop culture phenomenon when it debuted in January 2015. Four seasons in, the critically praised series starring Terrence Howard and Taraji P. Henson is off from its meteoric ratings heights but remains Fox’s No.2 series in adults 18-49 and total viewers.
Ilene Chaiken showran Empire for its first three and a half seasons until stepping back earlier this season to focus on development. (She has a drama pilot at Fox starring Katie Holmes which is in strong contention for a series pickup.) Brett Mahoney, who stepped in to help lead the series in the interim for the second half of this season, will continue as showrunner in Season 5. He executive produces alongside Daniels, Strong, Imagine’s Brian Grazer and Francie Calfo, Sanaa Hamri, Dennis Hammer and Chaiken.
“Empire is as compelling, emotional and unpredictable as it ever was,” said FBC Entertainment president Michael Thorn. “We are so proud of our amazing cast, led by Terrence and Taraji, who deliver powerful performances week after week. We’d also like to thank our tremendous creative team – Lee, Danny, Brett, Ilene, Sanaa, Brian and Francie – whose inspired storytelling continues to create the unforgettable, jaw-dropping OMG moments that have always been signature to Empire.”
Empire joins previously renewed freshman Fox dramas 9-1-1, The Gifted and The Orville. The network is yet to make a decision on its other returning dramas, including Star, which is on the bubble, and the three Warner Bros. TV one-hours, Lethal Weapon, which has a behind-the-scene issue, Gotham and Lucifer.
In tonight’s new episode of Empire, Eddie (guest star Forest Whitaker) fights for his place at Empire Entertainment and gets the board on his side, while Lucious (Howard) and Shine (Alvin “Xzibit” Joiner) must find a permanent solution to keep him out. Then, as Cookie (Henson) tries to make amends for the past, it leads her to a possible future with her long-lost mother (guest star Alfre Woodard).
Empire, Fox’s No.2 series behind 9-1-1 in 18-49 and total viewers, also draws the network’s second-largest total multi-platform audience this season, averaging 11.3 million total viewers for the 2017/18 broadcast season to date, up +95% from its Live + Same Day delivery. The series stars Howard, Henson, Jussie Smollett, Bryshere “Yazz” Gray, Trai Byers, Grace Byers, Gabourey Sidibe, Ta’Rhonda Jones, Serayah, Xzibit, Rumer Willis, Andre Royo and Terrell Carter.