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Terrence Howard's heavy weight almost cost him Empire lead

Actor Terrence Howard almost lost out on the top role in Lee Daniels' new drama series Empire because he was too heavy after piling on the pounds for another TV project.

The Oscar nominee reveals he tipped the scales at 250 pounds (113.4 kilograms) at the start of the show's production and would have been fired had he not received the help of Empire's crewmembers, who were determined to get Howard back into tip-top shape so he could keep his job as conniving hip-hop mogul Lucious Lyon.


During an interview on morning show Live with Kelly and Michael on Wednesday (11Feb15), he said, "I came into the show at 250 pounds... I was playing this character in this other thing with (U.S. network) Fox, called Wayward Pines, and the character was a heavy sheriff, so I had an excuse to eat the ice cream and all of that...


"But then afterward, I couldn't get it off, so when I got to this show (Empire), there was talk about letting me go because it wasn't the leading man look and all of that. So the crew was like, 'We like you, Terrence, so this is what we're gonna do. At the end of every... scene, if we have five, six scenes in a day, we do push ups till failure...' I mean, not just 10, 20, we do push ups till failure."


Howard then tried to demonstrate his strength by challenging TV hosts Kelly Ripa and former American football star Michael Strahan to a push-ups contest, but they both outlasted him as the actor was the first to give up.