‘Empire’: Is a Spinoff TV Show Already in the Works?
Given the huge success of Fox’s Empire, it’s no surprise that the series has spurred talk of a potential spinoff. But it looks like the project could be happening sooner than you think. The network and co-creator Lee Daniels have reportedly already begun discussions about launching an Empire offshoot, with seeds for a new show potentially being planted as early as this season.
According to Vulture, Fox TV Group co-chief Dana Walden has confirmed that talks about a potential spinoff are ongoing, but an exact concept hasn’t yet been decided upon. Last month, Daniels brought up the possibility of creating a prequel that would center on a younger Cookie Lyon (the character played by Taraji P. Henson on the flagship series). While Walden didn’t specifically address that idea or if it was still on the table, she did say that any spinoff would focus on telling its own compelling story, not just piggybacking off of Empire‘s popularity.
“We just want to make sure the right idea presents itself to the creators, and that it’s not something that feels forced or fabricated,” Walden told Vulture. “And we’re not going to rush anything. We want the writers to stay focused on making a great season of Empire this year.”
While the network may be determined to take its time and not rush into a hastily constructed spinoff, Daniels and other producers are currently actively working on nailing down a concept for the potential project — which means there’s a strong chance that “the right idea” could materialize sooner rather than later. If that’s the case, Walden says Fox will likely start setting up the plot for the new spinoff in one or several upcoming episodes of the current season of Empire.
“If there’s a character … that feels original enough, has enough momentum and enough of a storytelling engine, we will definitely look to spin Empire off for next season,” Walden said. “[That character] would, in all likelihood, appear in the second half of this season.”
It’s no surprise that Fox would want to move quickly on an Empire spinoff, if given the opportunity. The network has seen major success with the original series, with the first season drawing a hugely positive response from both critics and viewers. More importantly (for Fox, at least), the ratings have been off the charts, with the show’s freshman season pulling in an average of 17.3 million viewers. Season two has also started out strongly, with the premiere delivering 16.2 million viewers and a 6.7 rating among the 18-to-49 demo (making it the network’s highest-rated season premiere for a scripted show in six years). With those kinds of numbers, it’s not hard to see why Fox wants to launch an Empire part two.
But fans may be getting a new Fox show from Daniels next fall, regardless of whether the spinoff ends up taking shape this season or not. As announced earlier this year, the creator is currently working on another new, non-Empire related series for the network, entitled Star. That show — which, again, is separate from Empire or the developing Empire spinoff — will center on the story of a rising young singing group and is currently finalizing a script for its pilot.
Between the developing spinoff and Star, viewers clearly have a lot to look forward to from both Fox and Daniels. In the meantime, there’s plenty of Empire‘s second season left to enjoy.
Empire airs on Wednesday nights at 9 p.m. ET on Fox.