Fox has picked up their drama pilots Empire and Red Band Society to series.
Empire, which hails from The Butler’s Lee Daniels and Danny Strong, is described as a family drama set in the world of a hip-hop empire. The script was written by Strong and Daniels, who also directed the pilot. The drama is produced by 20th Century Fox Television in association with Imagine Television and stars Terrence Howard (Law & Order: Los Angeles), Taraji P. Henson (Person Of Interest), Malik Yoba (Alphas), Kaitlin Doubleday, Timothy “Timbaland” Mosley, Grace Gealey, Bryshere Y. Gray, Jussie Smollet, Trai Byers and Gabourey Sidibe.
Red Band Society was written by Margaret Nagle and follows the daily lives of a group of teenagers living in a hospital who become unlikely friends. The drama, described as darkly comedic, is produced by ABC Studios and Amblin Television and stars , Octavia Spencer, Griffin Gluck, Rebecca Rittenhouse, Brian Bradley, Charlie Rowe, Nolan Sotillo, Zoe Levin, Ciara Bravo and Dave Annable. The executive producers are Nagle, Sergio Aguero, Darryl Frank, Justin Falvey and Steven Spielberg.
Empire has long been considered a frontrunner for a series order at Fox, with the drama landing at the network following a bidding war back in January 2014. Word over the past few weeks has been that execs at the network were bullish on Empire and that it, alongside fellow drama pilots Red Band Society and Gotham, were all but assured spots on the network’s 2014-2015 schedule.
The series orders for Empire and Red Band Society follow on from yesterday’s pick up for Warner Bro’s produced Batman prequel Gotham. The two are amongst five new dramas that Fox will have on offer next season. The other two are Backstrom, from Bones showrunner Hart Hanson, and ancient Egyptian drama Hieroglyph, both of which were ordered straight to series earlier this year.