If you listened to Geektown Radio a couple of podcasts ago, you’ll have heard us interview Fil Eisler, the composer for the massive smash hit US show EMPIRE, which at the time hadn’t been picked up in the UK… Now it has…
EMPIRE is coming to E4 in the Spring (so probably May). If you’re not familiar with the show, it’s described by co-creator and Academy Award nominee Lee Daniels (The Butler, Precious) as ‘black Dynasty’ and is loosely inspired by Daniels’ real-life experiences. EMPIRE focuses Lucious Lyon (Academy Award nominee Terrence Howard, Crash, Hustle & Flow), CEO of a hip-hop empire, and a former street thug turned powerhouse music industry mogul who discovers he has ALS (that illness that had us all chucking buckets of water over ourselves last year).
Lucious 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 Smollett – North, The Mighty Ducks) 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, (Academy Award and Emmy Award nominee Taraji P. Henson – The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, 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. Love, war, family, sacrifice, money and music: this is the story of Empire.
The show which premiered in the US in January, was created by Daniels and Danny Strong. Danny, to our audience, is probably best know as Jonathan in Buffy, but has become somewhat of an incredible screen writer, penning The Butler with Lee Daniels, the brilliant Game Change, and a little movie called The Hunger Games: Mockingjay (part’s 1 & 2)… Oh, and apparently smashes it out the park as a director in one of the season one episodes as well… Safe to say, the kid has talent. ;)
American rap star and producer, Timbaland, alongside songwriter and producer Jim Beanz, along with friend of Geektown, Fil Eisler, are responsible for creating the series’ original soundtrack, which topped Billboard’s R&B/Hip-Hop Album and 200 Album Charts in the US.
Of the acquisition, 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.” I bet you are Jay. The numbers for the show in the US are beyond phenomenal! This is a MUST WATCH tv show!