Blood & Oil: Post 2

In addition to a fairly star-studded cast, Blood & Oil‘s off-screen talent provides insight on the quality that viewers may expect come its premiere later this month. For the writers: Josh Pate, whom has had relative success in film bearing titles as Deceiver and The Gravepairs with Rodes Fishburne, a novelist whom makes his TV writing/producing debut with the premiere of Blood and Oil.

The show, which has gone through multiple name changes, from tentatively “Oil” to possibly “Boom” to finally Blood & Oil, could be potentially defined by the talent and ambition of its producers.

Tony Krantz, the man behind the success of 24, could be the game changer for Blood & Oil. While his latest broadcast venture Dracula with NBC was canceled after its first season, Krantz has brought heart and ambition to Blood & Oil.  Don Johnson, arguably the show’s most recognizable and experienced actor, claims he originally said no to the series. However, after meeting with an insistent Krantz, Johnson claimed he was taken by “the passion that everyone had with the project” (Source: Entertainment Weekly, Sept. 18-25 issue #1382).


TCA SUMMER PRESS TOUR 2015 - "Blood & Oil" Session - The cast and producers of ABC's "Blood & Oil" address the press at Disney | ABC Television Group's Summer Press Tour 2015 at The Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, California. (ABC/Image Group LA) JOSH PATE (CREATOR/EXECUTIVE PRODUCER), RODES FISHBURNE (CREATOR/EXECUTIVE PRODUCER), TONY KRANTZ (EXECUTIVE PRODUCER), AMBER VALLETTA, DON JOHNSON, CHACE CRAWFORD, REBECCA RITTENHOUSE

TCA SUMMER PRESS TOUR 2015 – “Blood & Oil” Session – The cast and producers of ABC’s “Blood & Oil” address the press at Disney | ABC Television Group’s Summer Press Tour 2015 at The Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, California. (ABC/Image Group LA)

Blood & Oil – Post #1

ABC’s Sunday Primetime lineup will have two new additions: one being Blood & Oil, a soap drama with high stakes scheming and ruthless ambition. The series, which boasts the tagline “Millionaires are made everyday”, follows a hopeful young couple as they move to modern-day North Dakota on the heels of America’s greatest oil discovery.

The classic “striking gold” storyline may fare well for younger audiences craving a rag to riches story with plenty of edge. ABC’s hugely popular Once Upon a Time, which got top ranks for the 18-49 broadcasting demo, acts as the lead in for Blood and Oil, and seem to target the same younger viewers.  Based on the choices for on-screen talent, “Blood and Oil” has a lot of potential to carry some of the “Once” numbers at its 9 o’clock slot. Lead protagonist Billy Lefever is played by Chace Crawford, who will certainly create interest amongst the 18-24 demographic following his fame on the hit series Gossip Girl.  Playing the other half of the new-chance seeking couple as Cody Lefever is Rebecca Rittenhouse; who is set for a hopeful splash on ABC after her role as Brittany the short-lived Fox teen drama Red Band Society. Also starring are TV vet Don Johnson (Miami Vice) and supermodel-turned-actress Amber Valletta from ABC’s recently finished series Revenge. Johnson and Valletta will play opposite Crawford and Rittenhouse as ruthless oil tycoons Hap and Darla Briggs. 


Blood and Oil premieres at 9/8c September 27th on ABC.



Ever since Empire premiered, it has experienced one shockingly long string of good news. The first episode was viewed by 9.9 million people, and since then the numbers have only gone up. The seventh and most recent episode was seen by 11.96 million viewers and achieved a 4.8 rating in the 18-49 demographic. The show was renewed for a second season after only a couple episodes. The show’s success is even more surprising considering its content. Empire is a soap opera-style program featuring a predominantly black cast, not exactly standard fare for television. Some of the show’s success could be attributable to the reputation of lead actor Terrance Howard and creator Lee Daniels, the latter of whom recently directed the critically acclaimed and commercially successful film The Butler.

And much like The Butler, Empire, in addition to being a commercial success, is also a favorite among critics, having garnered positive reviews on both Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic. All-in-all, the future looks bright for Empire. It will be interesting to see how long this upward trend in ratings and viewership can continue before it begins to taper off.


The seventh episode of Empire continued the television show’s upward trend in viewership and ratings, pulling down 13.02 million viewers and a 5.2 rating in the 18-49 demographic, which places it first in its time slot by a significant margin. At this rate, I would not be surprised if Fox renews Empire for a third season before the first one ends. With the massive success that the shows has been–with the caveat that only eight episodes have aired, and we only have viewership data for seven of them–it will be interesting to see if the unorthodox premise of the show inspires derivatives and copycats in the coming years.

Both of the last two weeks, Empire has increased its viewership. I can’t imagine the television world will see anything like this for a long time after. It’s frankly rather mind boggling.

But the real news is that the Empire season one finale aired last night. The numbers aren’t in yet, but I would be shocked if there is anything less than a significant increase in viewership. In addition to the upward trend that has been seen in all of the previous weeks, they seem to have stepped up their advertising a bit for this final two-part episode. The past few days have seen a dramatic increase in advertisement on Youtube and other platforms.

One other thing to note is that the Empire soundtrack featuring all the original hip hop songs from the show was just released on March 10 and debuted at number one on the Billboard Top 200 with 130,000 albums sold. This is the first time a television soundtrack has debuted at number one since Glee in 2010.

The numbers for the finale of Empire are in, and as most people probably expected, there was a significant increase in viewership. Even within the two-part finale, the second half received far more viewers that the first. The first half received a 6.1 rating with 15.82 million viewers, while the second half received a 6.9 rating with 17.62 million viewers. Needless to say, these figures crushed all other contenders in the time slot competition.

In other news, Fox Broadcasting is preemptively launching a lawsuit against the real-life Empire Distribution Inc., a California based record label, over trademark rights to the title “Empire.” The lawsuit was filed in anticipation of a lawsuit by Empire Distribution. Fox’s argument appears to primarily be based upon the fact that Empire Distribution is a small and insignificant operation, coupled with the fact that the name “Empire” has been used by numerous other films, television shows, and companies with no infringement problems. Considering the lethargic pace of the civil court system in the United States, it is unlikely that the case will be settled any time soon.

Previously, I mentioned the absurdly high ratings for the Empire two-part finale, but it is also important to note that the final episodes achieved excellence in other areas as well. In the social media world, the finale broke a Twitter record by being the “most-tweeted about telecast since Nielsen started measuring,” with 2.3 million tweets viewed 112 million times by roughly 5.9 million people. This immense flood of tweets was beneficial to the actors’ personal Twitter accounts. The twitter account of one of the stars of the show, Jussie Smollett, saw an increase in followers from 54,000 to 204,000 on the day of the finale alone. Of course, any increase in the popularity of the personal twitter accounts of the stars of the show will naturally feed back into the amount of social media buzz that the show can generate, as the actors have been active on social media, and particularly Twitter, often live-tweeting the episodes as they air.

In addition, the finale two episodes were well received by critics. An article in Entertainment Weekly said that it “felt like the best episode of Trapped in the Closet in years,” while The New York Times called the entire first season, finale included, “pretty perfect.”

That being said, critical laudation in general appears to have become more mild as the show as progressed through the first season. While I have had trouble finding the exact numbers, if my memory serves me correctly, after the first few episodes Empire had a Rotten Tomatoes score in the mid-eighties, and a meteoritic score in the mid-seventies. Now, with the first season completed, these numbers stand at 79% and 69, respectively—still high enough to give this commercially popular drama a solid reputation of genuine artistry.

I mentioned earlier that Empire has been renewed for a season season—in fact, that it was renewed for a season season after only three or four episodes, a rare feat in and of itself. There is no new change to report here—a second season is still in the works. I only bring this up because a rumor was spreading around the internet recently claiming that the second season of Empire had been canceled. However, this was quickly traced to a fake news website (sort of a non-humorous version of The Onion) that in the past has also created fake buzz when it claimed Krispy Kreme was giving away free donuts and Martin Lawrence had died. Of course, it should come as no surprise that a second season of Empire is still in the works; with the constantly upward trending numbers it sported throughout the entire run of its first season, it is difficult to imagine any reason the network would forgo the immense opportunities afforded by a second season.