‘Empire’ Emmy snub? Lee Daniels has nothing but love for the TV academy

2015 Summer TCA Tour - Day 10

Actress Taraji P. Henson and creator/writer/executive producer Lee Daniels play around during the “Empire” panel discussion at the Fox portion of the 2015 Summer TCA Tour at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Thursday in Beverly Hills.

(Frederick M. Brown / Getty Images)

When “Empire,” the hottest series to premiere this season, was passed over for an Emmy nomination for best drama, the show’s key creative force, Lee Daniels, had a few choice words for Emmy voters.

Words that could not be printed in a family newspaper.

But at a Television Critics Assn. session promoting the second season of “Empire,” Daniels warned reporters not to get his Emmy blast twisted, saying his remarks were taken out of context, attributing the comments to his “twisted sense of humor.”

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“If you follow me on social media, you get my sense of humor,” said Daniels, adding that he had a “deep respect” for the Emmys and was celebrating the show’s three nominations, including the lead actress nod for Taraji P. Henson.

He added that he felt fortunate to be picked up, and was very excited to be working: “We are lucky to be employed. We are blessed. So many others that I know are unemployed.” As for the second season, he said the writers would continue to peel back the layers of what he called “an all-American story.”

“All we want to do is continue to do ‘Empire,’ to tell the truth,” he said. “We just want to be ourselves.”

Full coverage: Television Critics Assn. press tour 2015


He confirmed reports that Mariah Carey will appear during the second season. But he said rumors about other major stars coming on were a bit inflated, saying the show has to stay focused on the series’ center--the dynamics of the dysfunctional Lyon family.

Henson reiterated her joy at playing Cookie Lyon, the ferocious ex-convict locked in a vicious battle with her former husband for control of his vast music empire, which she helped build. She said in real life, she can’t be as bold as Cookie: “I have to be politically correct.”

Daniels dismissed the accusations of a Detroit woman who has filed a $300-million copyright infringement lawsuit, saying the character of Cookie was based on her.


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