Power Creator: Empire Comparison “Makes Me Sad” — Exclusive
Starz drama Power aired its first season in June 2014, but ever since Empire hit our small screens in January, people can't help but compare the two shows, but if you ask creator and showrunner Courtney Kemp Agboh they needs to stop, ASAP.
Now, Power and Empire do have some elements in common. After all, Power is all about Ghost (Omari Hardwick), the owner of a New York Nightclub, who also just so happens to be a major player in a drug ring. Drugs and music? Yeah, that should sound a little familiar to Empire fans.
But as Courtney explained to Wetpaint Entertainment at the midseason premiere for Starz's freshmen hit, Outlander, tonally, Empire and Power aren't all that similar, and she's pretty sure the main reason people are comparing them is simply that they both feature majority black casts. And that's what bothers her.
"I feel like Empire is more like Dynasty or like Nashville than it is like Power," Courtney explained when we asked her how she feels about the constant comparisons between the shows. "There are some similarities, but I think the major similarity is a visual one. So when people ask me about it, I kind of always want to trouble them and say, 'OK, so if the cast of Empire were majority white would you be asking me this question?' And the answer is, no you wouldn't, because nobody is asking me about Nashville. Not a single person has asked me about Nashville... For me, the Empire comparison always just makes me sad."
That said, Courtney does think Power and Empire do have one important thing in common: They're part of the current crop of shows that are proving diversity on TV is nothing but a good thing. "The thing that is important is to note that people of color are not a turn-off to white audiences," she said. "That is the thing that we are learning. That people don't need to be afraid of putting the world on TV the way the world is, as opposed to the way the world was in Pleasantville.... So I think we should look more to Scandal, we should loom more to How to Get Away With Murder, we should look more to Grey's Anatomy. We should look more to those shows and see that that's what the world looks like, every different kind of person."
OK, so we know Power isn't just like Empire. But what can fans expect when the sexy drama returns for its second season on June 6? A lot of intensity! "It picks up really, really fast, and it's really hard hitting," Courtney dished. "The first season was really about Ghost and Angela [Lela Loren] falling in love to some extent, and the two of them not knowing anything about each other. And in the second season, they find out more, and it's... intense."
What do you think about the Empire and Power comparisons? Let us know in the comments below!
Catch the Power Season 2 premiere on June 6 at 9 p.m. on Starz.
Rebecca Martin is an Associate Editor at Wetpaint Entertainment and our resident Game of Thrones, Pretty Little Liars, and genre TV expert. Follow her on Twitter and Google+!