E4 to air US hip-hop drama Empire


E4 has procured the UK screening rights to new US series Empire.

Dubbed a ‘black Dynasty’ by creator Lee Daniels, the saga is set in the provocative world of hip-hop music and follows the fictional life of a former street thug turned powerhouse music industry mogul, Lucious Lyon (Academy Award® nominee Terrence Howard, Crash, Hustle & Flow).

“Empire has been a record breaking hit in the US. It’s grown and grown as audiences have fallen in love with its unforgettable characters and soundtrack. I’m delighted it’s coming to E4.” – Channel 4’s Chief Creative Officer, Jay Hunt

The story sees Lucious, a talented artist and CEO of Empire Entertainment, diagnosed with a debilitating illness and forced to choose one of his three sons to become heir of his successful music kingdom. Lucious’ favourite is his youngest son, Hakeem (Bryshere Y. Gray), who is a gifted musician but also a spoiled playboy who values fame over hard work. Middle son Jamal (Jussie Smollett, North, The Mighty Ducks) is a sensitive soul and musical prodigy who, unlike Hakeem, shies away from the spotlight. Eldest son Andre (Trai Byers, 90210), is Wharton-educated with a brilliant mind, but lacks the charisma that Lucious believes is critical to running the company successfully.

As Lucious prompts his sons to vie for his empire, his plans are thrown into chaos when his ex-wife, the brash and outspoken Cookie, (Academy Award and Emmy® Award nominee Taraji P. Henson, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Person of Interest) mysteriously emerges from prison to claim her share of the business. As the Lyons slug it out, an emotional chess game begins that will either cause the family’s destruction or redemption. Love, war, family, sacrifice, money and music: this is the story of Empire.

“We are delighted to be working with E4 on Empire, the hottest new show on American television – it is the perfect home for the series. Viewers will be captivated by this ground breaking drama. We anticipate it will become as big of a hit with UK audiences, as it has with TV viewers in the US.” – Senior Vice President and MD, Twentieth Century Fox Television Distribution

The 12 part saga, which premiered on Fox in the US in January, was created by Academy Award nominee Daniels and Danny Strong (Lee Daniels’ The Butler, Game Change) and is loosely based on Daniels’ real-life experiences. American rap star and producer, Timbaland, alongside songwriter and producer Jim Beanz, are responsible for creating the series’ original soundtrack, which topped Billboard’s R&B/Hip-Hop Album and 200 Album Charts in the US.

Empire will air this spring on E4.

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