Taraji P. Henson nearly spills out of her dress as she promotes Empire

7 Aug 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

‘Empire’ Season 2 Trailer Features New Feuds, Marisa Tomei’s Debut (Video).

The Lee Daniels music dynasty sudser will be joined by “Star,” about three girls climbing in the music business in Atlanta, Fox executives announced today. “One of our characters is rising out of poverty, and there’s a lot from Lee’s own life that’s baked into the DNA of this project,” Fox’s Dana Walden said.

In the new season-two trailer, released Thursday, Andre (Trai Byers) is determined to remove Lucious as CEO of the company, as is his mother, Cookie (Taraji P. He said the world of the Lyon clan is rich enough to warrant additional series. “I think there is going to be a spinoff from ‘Empire’ without question,” Daniels said Thursday during a panel on at the Television Critics Assn. press tour. “There so much ripe story there” to explore the origins of Taraji P.

The magic of “Empire,” the highest rated broadcast drama in seven years, a show that saw its ratings climb every week for 10 weeks, was its mix of music, cultural commentary, sibling rivalry, sex and terrific casting. Henson’s character of Cookie Lyon and her rough-and-tumble upbringing in Philadelphia, as well as the roots of Terrence Howard’s hip-hip mogul Lucious Lyon.

Daniels is also working on a new pilot for the network revolving around the Atlanta music scene. “Empire,” the biggest broadcast TV hit in more than a decade, opens its second season on Sept. 23. For anyone questioning “the relevance of the broadcast network and whether it’s still part of the cultural conversation,” Fox’s Walden said, consider “Empire” and its 17 million viewers on average in the week after broadcast. “When I’m afraid, when I say do we really want to do this? then I know I’m in a safe place,” Daniels said. Season 2 will “peel back yet another layer of what is going on in America, specifically with this African-American family.” Expect Denzel Washington, Oprah Winfrey and others to make appearances but the Lyon family will remain the focus. The new footage also features the formal debut of guest-stars Chris Rock and Marisa Tomei — the latter’s character wastes no time picking sides in the Lyon family’s drama.

Daniels initially made some pointed remarks about the snub, but on Thursday he offered more measured comments while discussing the 20th Century Fox TV/Imagine TV show’s sophomore year with Henson, showrunner Ilene Chaiken and exec producer Brian Grazer. “I’m lucky to be working,” he said. “I spoke to my cast when we didn’t get an Emmy nomination (for series). When pressed to reflect on the reason for its outsized success, Daniels emphasized that the story of a complicated family that makes it rich is “the American dream” and not strictly an African-American story. I’m very humbled and grateful for Fox in allowing us to do that.” “Network television had been so safe for so long — I think that’s why ‘Empire’ has done so well,” Henson said. But he’s always mindful of going overboard with stunt casting. “The more celebrates and stars I put on the show, the more it takes away from the family,” Daniels said. As for the pressure to live up to the lofty heights of season one, Chaiken said the job is very clear. “Once you go to work, you just think about the stories you’re telling,” he said. “We want to continue to make the audience gasp and laugh and scream and cry.” Daniels had expressed concern about having to produce more than 12 episodes in season two, after a cable-like schedule for season two.

The first half of the season will consist of 10 episodes, followed by a break until they return in the spring for eight more segs. “I was a little nervous in the beginning because of the actors,” Daniels said. “It’s hard to turn out that kind of work — they’re not horses, you know. But Fox has put a schedule together that has made me less terrified.” Chaiken added: “We will be able to devote as much time to each episode as we did in the first season.

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