E4 has acquired the exclusive first run UK broadcast rights to Fox’s hit drama series Empire after reaching a multi-year deal with international distributor Twentieth Century Fox Television Distribution, parent company Channel 4 announced today.
Empire is described as a family drama set in the world of a hip-hop empire. The show follows Lucious Lyon, the CEO of Empire Entertainment and a former street thug whose reign has been unchallenged for years. But when he learns he has a disease that is going to render him crippled and incapacitated in a matter of three years, his three sons battle it out for control of their father’s corporation.
Created by Lee Daniels and Danny Strong, the drama series, which has already been renewed for a second season, is produced by 20th Century Fox 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.
A UK deal for Empire has been in the works for months, ever since the most recent LA Screenings where Fox unveiled the series to a range of UK buyers. The prospects of such a deal intensified after Empire proved to be a huge hit for Fox when it premiered earlier this year. TVWise previously reported that Channel 4 was eyeing the series, though at the time it was understood to be under consideration for a slot on More4 rather than E4.
From its premiere episode on Fox to its season finale, Empire increased its L7 (consolidated) audience from 13.9 million viewers to 23.1 million viewers across the space of a mere 12 episodes. “Empire has been a record breaking hit in the US”, said Channel 4’s Chief Creative Officer Jay Hunt. “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.”
“We are delighted to be working with E4 on Empire, the hottest new show on American television – it is the perfect home for the series”, added Steve Cornish, Senior Vice President and Managing Director of Twentieth Century Fox Television Distribution. “Viewers will be captivated by this ground breaking drama. We anticipate it will become as big of a hit with UK audiences, as it has with TV viewers in the US.”
Empire is expected to premiere on E4 this Spring.