Reality TV helped Empire

Me and Wendy after the forum.

A couple of days ago I attended a Hollywood screenwriting forum featuring Wendy Calhoun, Co-Executive Producer of Empire TV Show. I haven’t been impressed with a TV executive in a long time, but she is quite impressive. She’s funny, creative, driven, and knowledgeable. She grew up in Chicago, went to college at NYU and was inspired by Spike Lee. She’s very close to her father and has even written some plays. She has lots a TV credits, but what surprised me most were her reality TV credits. And, the fact that she credits reality TV with contributing to the success of Empire. But how is that possible?


Wendy stated that because of the popularity of shows like Real Housewives of Atlanta that many people watch–including non-whites, it allowed viewers to get comfortable seeing African Americans on television in a different way. Brilliant. I had never considered how reality TV could positively impact dramatic television so this was eye opening for me. I also believe its true. Luscious and Cookie are by no means NeNe and Kenya, but the familiarity of something all black being enjoyable is the key. I can believe people who watch RHOA could find enjoyment checking out Cookie. Its not a stretch at all.

Unlike many other TV shows, Empire has been mired in rumor and innuendo. Will it return for next season? Are their fights over money? Was season 1 their first and final season. Well, I’m not one who is afraid to address controversy and so I made it a point to ask Wendy what was the REAL status of Season 2 for Empire?   I created a video on what happened when I met Wendy. It is the subject of this week’s Chronicles of SuperDuperYasmin. The video is below.

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Peace & Love,


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