Fox has tapped Grammy award-winning producer and rapper Timbaland to produce and write music for the new pilot “Empire,” the network announced Tuesday.
“Empire” is a family drama anchored in the hip-hop world and will feature both original and current music. Terrence Howard and Taraji P. Henson will star.
Howard will play Lucious Lyon, the charismatic, savvy head of a record label. Henson will portray Cookie, Lucious’ ex-wife, who spent 17 years behind bars for dealing drugs and upon her release for good behavior returns to reclaim what she feels is hers after she funneled all that drug money into her husband’s fledgling music business. The former couple will also be at odds over their musical prodigy son, who happens to be gay (Dad isn’t so supportive).
This isn’t the first time Howard and Henson have explored the world of hip-hop. The pair starred in 2005’s critcally acclaimed indie “Hustle & Flow,” which famously yielded an Academy Award for the film’s anthem, “It’s Hard Out Here for a Pimp.”
Born Timothy Zachery Mosley, Timbaland became a go-to hitmaker in the ‘90s after groundbreaking work with Missy Elliott and the late Aaliyah. He’s crafted hits for a who’s who of music including Janet Jackson, Usher, Nas, Eminem, Nelly Furtado, Brandy, Ludacris, Jennifer Lopez, Jamie Foxx, M.I.A., OneRepublic, Chris Brown, Beyoncé, Justin Timberlake and Jay Z.
Last year was a banner year for Timbaland. He produced and co-wrote multiple tracks on a handful of the year’s biggest selling albums, including Timberlake’s “The 20/20 Experience -- The Complete Experience,” Jay Z’s “Magna Carta Holy Grail” and Beyoncé’s self-titled surprise album.
“Empire” is written and executive-produced by Lee Daniels (“Precious,” “The Butler”) and Danny Strong (“Game Change,” “The Butler”). Daniels will also direct the pilot. 20th Century Fox Television and Imagine Entertainment are producing, with Brian Grazer and Francie Calfo also executive producing.