Empire is the biggest thing to happen to Fox since American Idol, with the freshman drama racking up viewers and buzz for a network that sorely needs a lot of both.
But there’s at least one high profile person out there who isn’t a fan of the Terrence Howard-anchored drama.
Far from it, in fact.
PBS host Tavis Smiley chatted with Larry King yesterday, coming down hard on the series for depicting African-Americans in what he perceives to be a negative light.
The political commentator said "there is a debate in the black community that hasn’t really surfaced, hasn’t really boiled to the top yet, but I hear it in barber shops and other places that whether the problem with Empire is that it advances the worst of every pathology that black people have."
In what say?
Smiley thinks Empire depicts too much "crime and drug dealing" and that "a lot of people are looking for positive characters that may come out in the second season."
As far as Empire Season 1 is concerned, though?
"Everybody is ahhh!" Smiley notes.
Empire’s recent season finale garnered 23 million total viewers (when including seven days of DVR playback), becoming television’s highest-rated first-year drama in nearly a decade.
The finale even scored a higher demographic ranking among African American adults than this year’s Super Bowl.
Fox, meanwhile, is yet no comment on Smiley’s assertion.