Here’s your first look at Lee Daniels’ hip hop/family drama series Empire, which is set up at FOX, for a 2014/2015 debut.
Terrence Howard, Taraji P. Henson, Jussie Smollett, Macy Gray, Bryshere Y. Gray (aka rapper Yazz The Greatest), Trai Byers, Gabourey Sidibe, Malik Yoba, and Grace Gealey make up the cast.
The project, which reportedly sparked a bidding war among the 4 major broadcast networks last year, received a pilot commitment from FOX, and is described as a drama about a family-run hip-hop empire, hence the title.
Howard plays Lucious Lyon, a charismatic, but tough chief of a record label titled Empire Entertainment, which is on the verge of an IPO.
Meanwhile, Henson is Cookie Lyon, the ex-wife of Lucious Lyon, who’s described as a “total badass” with a prison record (she served 17 years for dealing drugs, and used the money to help finance Lucious’ growing music empire, when it was still in its early days). She’s now out of prison, and has come for what’s hers!
Jussie Smollett plays their son, Jamal, a fledgling rapper himself, who is also gay – something that Lucious, the father, has a problem with.
Macy Gray will appear as Tasha, a woman having an affair with Bryshere Y. Gray’s character, Hakeem Lyon, Lucious’ other son, the youngest, and Lucious’ favorite, and the frontrunner to take over his father’s empire.
Trai Byers will play Andre, Lucious’ oldest son, described as tall and brilliant, but with a dark side, and Grace Gealey will play Anika, the head of A&R for Empire Entertainment, and Lucious’ current girlfriend.
Finally, Gabourey Sidibe will recur as Lucious’ hard-working assistant Becky, and Malik Yoba will do the same, as his longtime friend from the streets and business associate, who is now Empire Entertainment’s chairman of the board.
Let all the family drama ensue!
Lee Daniels, who is directing, is collaborating with his The Butler writer, Danny Strong, on the project, with Brian Grazer also producing.
Here’s a full version of the image, courtesy of TVLine.