US hip-hop drama ‘Empire’ to begin on E4 later this month

Hit US TV drama features original music from Timbaland

Hit US hip-hop drama Empire will begin on E4 on Tuesday, April 28.

E4 announced last week (April 7) that it has acquired the rights to Empire and now the show’s creator Lee Daniels has confirmed its UK start date.

The musical drama series, which features original songs by Timbaland, debuted on US network Fox in January and saw its audience increase steadily across its 12-episode first season to become the highest-rated scripted programme on US TV. Season One drew to a close in the US last month (March) and Fox has recently ordered a second season.

Co-created by The Butler director Daniels and The Hunger Games – Mockingjay screenwriter Danny Strong, Empire centres on a fictional hip-hop music and entertainment company, Empire Entertainment, headed up by rapper-turned-mogul Lucious Lyon, played by Terence Howard. Taraji P. Henson co-stars as his formidable ex-wife Cookie Lyon, who has recently been released from prison following a 17-year sentence for drug dealing.

Courtney Love has a recurring role in the series as Elle Dallas, a drug-addicted rock star on the comeback trail, while Snoop Dogg, Mary J. Blige, Rita Ora, Gladys Knight, Estelle and Patti LaBelle all make guest appearances during Season One. The show’s producer Brian Glazer has recently revealed that he is hoping to persuade Eminem to make a cameo in Season Two.

The show’s soundtrack album has also been a hit in the US, debuting at Number One on the Billboard 200 albums chart last month (March).