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US Hip-hop drama comes to E4


E4 has acquired new 12-part US drama Empire, starring Terrence Howard (Crash).

Created by Lee Daniels and Danny Strong, the series 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 (Howard).

When Lucious, a talented artist and CEO of Empire Entertainment, is diagnosed with a debilitating illness, he must 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 SmollettNorth) 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, (Taraji P. Henson –  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.

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.

Channel 4’s Chief Creative Officer,Jay Hunt said: “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.”

Empire is due to air on E4 this Spring,