'Empire' Co-Creator Lee Daniels Signs Multiyear Overall Deal with Twentieth Century Fox

Lee Daniels
Lee Daniels, co-creator and executive producer of primetime soap opera Empire, has entered into a multiyear deal with Twentieth Century Fox Television, it was announced today by Fox Television Group Chairmen and CEO's Gary Newman and Dana Walden. Under the extensive pact, he will develop, write, direct and supervise new projects for the studio under his Lee Daniels Entertainment banner. Daniels will remain as an executive producer of the Fox juggernaut, which has done what no series has ever done before; grown its ratings in each of its telecasts to become the No. 1 show in all of broadcast television, and the highest-rated broadcast drama in seven years.

"Lee Daniels has a gift for telling authentic, provocative stories that are both truthful and wildly entertaining," Walden and Newman said in a statement. "His casting instincts are incredible, whether he is discovering tomorrow's stars or attracting the most accomplished performers to his projects. As a director, he elevates world class material to even greater heights, balancing heart-wrenching poignancy with surprising moments of levity that are over the top and fun. Quite simply, we love working with this inspired storyteller, and this deal is about extending and deepening our relationship."

"I'm incredibly excited to continue my relationship with Dana and Gary, and the rest of the Fox team," added Daniels. "I'm looking forward to developing content and finding alternative voices for both in front of and behind the camera."

Daniels serves as an executive producer and director on Empire alongside co-creator/executive producer Danny Strong, showrunner/executive producer Ilene Chaiken, executive producer Brian Grazer and executive producer Francie Calfo, and he directed the pilot episode. On the feature side, he will next start shooting The Untitled Richard Pryor Biopic for the Weinstein Company.

Daniels is an Academy Award nominated filmmaker whose body of work includes the critically acclaimed box office smash Lee Daniels' The Butler, Precious: Based On The Novel Push By Sapphire for which he was the first African American to be nominated for a Director's Guild of America Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Feature Film, The Paperboy and Shadowboxer. He also produced the acclaimed Monster's Ball starring Halle Berry, Billy Bob Thornton and Heath Ledger.

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