“Empire” Ratings Plunged After Gay Kiss During Test Audience

By Staff  |  02/13/2015

Taraji P. Henson in 'Empire'

FOX's new hip-hop themed drama, Empire, was off to a strong start, helping it getting renewed for a second season after just two episodes.

However, when showing the series to a test audience, rating plunged after one specific scene.

During a discussion on HuffPost Live, Washington Post entertainment reporter Cecilia Kang said that after an early scene shown to a test audience, featuring a same-sex kiss between character Jamal and his boyfriend Michael, rating plummeted.

She subsequently recalled a discussion that she had with Empire co-creators Lee Daniels and Danny Strong regarding the scene.

"One character that's quite interesting right now is Jamal and the storyline about homophobia in the African-American community, which I think has been discussed quite a bit," Kang said. "It shows also a lot of daring by the show's creators.

"I spoke to Danny Strong one of the creators, along with Lee Daniels, and Danny had told me that actually the very first scene when Jamal was kissing his partner, the test audiences that they showed this to -- the ratings plummeted," she added. "They did not like that scene at all. Danny was asked later what should we do about it and he said, 'Absolutely nothing at all. Why should we take this off just because people are uncomfortable? We wanna push buttons with this show, we wanna deal with real issues.' "

Despite the declining viewership from the test audience, Empire has done well. According to Wikipedia reports, viewership has increased with each new episode.

What are you thoughts on the Empire series so far?

New episodes air on Wednesday at 9pm/8pm C.