Typically, the idea of talking about Empire and its renewal chances is not all that appealing of a concept. After all, more often than not there’s not all that much to discuss. We’re talking here about a generational show for Fox, one that generated enormous ratings at the start of its run and one that is known all over the world.
This year, things are a tad different. The ratings are far from the show’s peak, and beyond just that, the Jussie Smollett case basically engulfed any conversation about the show itself. His future on the Fox drama is still unclear, and beyond that, there isn’t a season 6 renewal yet. This is what makes the show a prime candidate for discussion within our renewal debate series, and with that, we’re going to go through all of the reasons why it may or may not return within this article.
The case for renewal – Like we said at the jump, this is a generational hit for Fox. When you think about the massive ratings it had at the start, not giving Empire a proper ending would feel like a slap to the face. The ratings are also still significantly better than most of Fox’s other shows — season 5 is averaging a 1.4 rating in the 18-49 demographic, which ties it with 911 as the top-rated drama on the network. It’s faring better than The Resident, Lethal Weapon, The Gifted, The Orville, Gotham, The Passage, Proven Innocent, and STAR — that’s a lot of shows.
Regardless of everything else that Empire is going through behind-the-scenes, networks don’t cancel their #1 or #2 drama series unless there is something crazy going down behind the scenes.
The case for cancellation – Well, this is where we remind you that there is something crazy going down behind the scenes. The Smollett story has made matters difficult around the set and there’s not a lot of info coming out about his future, let alone the show itself. With Empire losing a good chunk of its viewership year after year, we do think that there is a situation where Fox just decides to move forward and get away from a lot of the controversy. The network’s already undergoing a big change following Disney buying up many of Fox’s properties (but not the network itself); they could decide that now is the time for a big-time sea change and cut Empire from the schedule.
We do think there will be a season 6, though we wouldn’t be shocked if it’s announced as the final season leading into it. Given the show’s overall clout and strength in the market, we believe that the producers want to end Empire on a high note — regardless of what happens with Smollett moving forward. Having the ratings fall to the point of obscurity just doesn’t feel like this particular show’s DNA.
Expect good news to come on Empire, in some shape or form, over the next few weeks.
What do you think the chances are of an Empire season 6 renewal at Fox? Be sure to share in the comments or the poll below! (Photo: Fox.)