‘Empire’s Lee Daniels Says TV Networks “Underestimate” Viewers’ Intelligence

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“The networks underestimate the intelligence of everyone in this room,” the hip-hop drama’s co-creator said bluntly tonight to a downtown LA audience about what America generally gets to watch on TV. Lee Daniels was speaking after a sneak-peek screening in the Ace Theatre of part of the finale of the hit Fox series. Citing the work of Norman Lear as an influence on himself, co-creator Danny Strong and Empire itself, The Butler director added that the show also is a bit of Trojan horse in its own intelligence. “Through humor, we wanted to feel the pain.”

The remarks came as part of a wide-ranging discussion touching on themes of race, empire cast eventsexuality, music and modern America after Part 1 of next week’s two-hour finale was shown to fans at the restored packed theater. At the same time, as he critiqued the networks, Daniels made a distinct point of praising Fox for…

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