hit american tv show empire is coming to E4
Naomi Campbell, Mary J Blige and Courtney Love all star, but we’re totally #teamcookie
It's been the biggest U.S. network hit in a decade and this spring sees Empire hit U.K. soil as it airs on E4. The epic hip hop drama described by its creator Lee Daniels as a "Black Dynasty" has been a monster hit at home with its blend of original music, outrageous melodrama and in Cookie Lyons, the fiercest female in television.
The show, loosely based on Daniels' real life experiences, follows the fortunes of former drug thug Lucious Lyons who, with the help of his then wife Cookie, turns multi million dollar music industry mogul.
The 12 part series starts with Luscious, played by Terence Howard, diagnosed with ALS and given three years to live; just time then to anoint an heir to his hip hop kingdom. He can choose from his three sons: the eldest Andre has the business brain and conniving white wife to make it work but not the creative talent; middle child Jamal has soul in spades but also has a boyfriend, a fact that his father fears might scare middle America off buying his records; the third child, Hakeem, is also musical but has an attitude problem that makes Justin Bieber look mild in comparison.
On top of all this, Lucious must deal with his now ex wife, Cookie, played by Taraji P. Henson, who has just got out after doing 17 years in prison and wants some of that empire for herself.
All of all the show's many draws, Henson has proved herself the most compelling as the take-no-prisoners Cookie. Jussie Smollett, who plays Jamal, has also make a splash, revealing on The Ellen Show that he's gay in real life. The show's soundtrack, created by Timbaland, recently topped the Billboard 100 and kept Madonna off the number one spot.
A sign of Empire's huge draw is its celebrity cache. Naomi Campbell pops up as Hakeem's older lover in the series and there are recurring roles for Jennifer Hudson and Courtney Love as well as guest spots from Mary J. Blige, Snoop Dogg and Rita Ora.
The show is set to air in E4 in the spring while in the U.S. a second series has already been commissioned.