To be frank, I really have no idea what to expect from this upcoming new series. None. The trailers thus far haven’t won me over, but they haven’t turned me off either. So, I’m in Limbo, waiting to finally watch a few episodes to get a good feel of what creator Lee Daniels has cooked off for us. At the very least, as with much of Daniels’ work and my responses to each one, I don’t expect to be bored! He’s almost always guaranteed to provoke in one way or another, and that’s actually one of the traits of Lee Daniels’ work I genuinely appreciate. Although the fact that it’s on FOX, instead of a cable TV network concerns me a bit, because Daniels just isn’t at his best when he’s constrained to anything less than an R rating. But I will say that, of all the broadcast network TV stations, FOX is definitely the most daring when it comes to adult material. So we’ll see.
I’ve yet to watch any preview episodes, but January 7, when the series premieres, isn’t very far away.
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 starring cast of a drama that centers on 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.
Malik Yoba will play Lucious’ longtime friend from the streets and business associate, who is now Empire Entertainment’s chairman of the board.
Finally, Gabourey Sidibe will recur as Lucious’ hard-working assistant Becky.
Let all the family drama ensue!
Watch a 3 new clips from the series, below. Taraji P. Henson, who co-stars, certainly looks like she’s having a lot of fun with her part: