What’s On Tonight: Empire makes it safe to say the words “hip hopera” again

Here’s what’s up in the world of TV for Wednesday, January 7. All times are Eastern.

Top pick

Empire (Fox, 9 p.m.): The time has come for Fox’s newest nighttime soap, Lee Daniels’ (Of Lee Daniels’ The Butler Fame) Empire, to debut. For those unaware, the family drama set in the music world stars Terrence Howard and Taraji P. Henson in what we can neither confirm nor deny are reincarnated versions of their characters from Hustle & Flow. Molly Eichel’s pre-air review of the pilot stated that Empire “will either continue to be fun and splashy, while staying grounded and engaging, or it will flame out as so many primetime sudsers have before it, becoming too ridiculous for its own good.” (The latter is known as “pulling a Nashville.”) Joshua Alston will be providing weekly reviews of the series, so he’ll keep us all …

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