After being rumored for some time now, a spinoff of Fox's juggernaut Empire, focusing on Taraji P. Henson's Cookie Lyon, is in development. Henson would star in the potential series, which is being developed as she has signed a first-look development deal with the show's producer, 20th Century Fox TV (now owned by Disney), through her new TPH Entertainment banner.
It is not through Fox Entertainment, the in-house producer of current Fox series. Because of this, the show would likely not air on Fox if it moves forward, and would likely be placed at another Disney-owned network. Though, because of its history at Fox, it landing back at the home of its parent series wouldn't be entirely out of the question.
Not much is known about the series, but it is confirmed now that it will not be a prequel and will instead be in the present-day, following what's next for Cookie. Empire co-creator Danny Strong will write the series with Stacy Littlejohn and Yolonda Lawrence. Sanaa Hamri would direct and Lee Daniels would executive produce with Imagine Entertainment’s Brian Grazer and Samie Falvey.
Henson was considered the series' standout and her performance is often regarded as the source of the show's popularity. She was nominated for three Emmys and won a Golden Globe for her work on the show.
“I believe that normalizing stories around stigmatizing matters will make them more palatable for audiences to embrace. Art can change perception and I plan to develop projects that can help further the conversation. 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,” added Henson in a statement.
“We were lucky to have a front-row seat to Taraji’s meteoric rise as a fixture on television through ‘Empire.’ 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," said 20th Century Fox TV president Carolyn Cassidy.