The only thing that could stop Empire’s continued meteoric rise, it turns out, was the hip-hop soap opera’s 12-episode Season 1 duration. As the drama ends its first season tonight — likely with one final week of record ratings — Fox needs to figure out how to keep Empire’s viewers engaged, and hopefully still tuned in, between Thursday and whenever the show returns for Season 2. As I wrote at Adweek,
In the interim, there are several opportunities for the network to capitalize on Empire’s massive audience and goose the network’s ratings, without tarnishing the still-expanding brand before it has a chance to realize its full potential.
I came up with eight feasible suggestions, including one of my favorite ideas:
Launch an Empire-centric hip-hop competition
In addition to maintaining Empire’s momentum, Fox would also love to find a new fall music competition to replace The X Factor, which bowed out in fall 2013. That’s one reason that Walden and co-chairman Gary Newman have been meeting with Simon Cowell about creating a new competition show.
Now, its best opportunity for not only a new competition show, but also one that doesn’t just feel like a Voice/American Idol clone, has just fallen into the network’s lap. Taking another page from Glee, Fox should mount a truncated version of Oxygen’s The Glee Project in the fall, in which aspiring hip-hop artists show off their vocal skills and compete for a featured role in Empire Season 2.
The network could run it in early fall, well before Empire’s second season, sprinkle in Empire cast guest appearances every week and tease new footage from the upcoming season. One essential element: the involvement of Timbaland, the show’s executive music producer.
This … is American Hip-Hop Idol!
There are plenty more where that came from, so make sure you read the whole story!