‘Empire’ may be over, but Cookie Lyon is just getting started.
Taraji P. Henson has signed a new first look deal with 20th Century Fox and will be developing an ‘Empire’ spinoff focused on Cookie.
The series will be directed by Sanaa Hamri.
Coming out the gate, the long rumored Cookie series will be penned and EP’d by Strong, Stacy A. Littlejohn and Yolonda Lawrence. With Empire vet Sanaa Hamri set to direct, the trio will serve as co-showrunners on the spinoff if the Henson, Daniels, Hamri, Brian Grazer and Samie Falvey EP’d LA-set project goes to pilot. Strong re-upped his own deal with 20th Century Fox TVlast year and has various projects on the go with the Disney-owned unit.
Even before the coronavirus pandemic induced earlier than expected conclusion of once blockbuster Empire‘s sixth and final season on Fox back in April, both Henson and Daniels made no secret of their shared desire to see Cookie’s saga continue. “I don’t know what that is and I’m not a part of it, but I wouldn’t be surprised if someone was trying to work on something,”Empire showrunner Brett Mahoney asserted in the spring of the possible spinoff.
And now they are.
“I believe that normalizing stories around stigmatizing matters will make them more palatable for audiences to embrace,” Henson said today of the new two-year deal and TPH.
“Art can change perception and I plan to develop projects that can help further the conversation,” the Hidden Figures star added. “I also aim to help cultivate and establish new young talent and their stories because they are our future and deserve a voice and a platform to be heard. I’m so excited to have 20th, led by the talented Carolyn Cassidy, support me in this new endeavor!”
And with more Empire on the menu, 20th are clearly pretty excited too.
“We were lucky to have a front row seat to Taraji’s meteoric rise as a fixture on television through Empire,” declared 20th Century Fox TV president Cassidy Thursday. “Through that relationship everyone at the company grew to appreciate her passion for storytelling and her strong creative gut instinct. With Empire finished we look forward to helping her explore stories that need to be told through her talent and advocacy.”
In addition to an Empire spinoff, Henson and TPH Entertainment’s agreement with 20th will also include other projects for multiple platforms.
Taraji’s Cookie Lyon was the best thing to come out of ‘Empire,’ so her spinoff should be great.