6:15pm PT by Kate Stanhope
Queen Latifah to Topline Lee Daniels' Girl-Group Pilot
Queen Latifah is returning to TV.
The Oscar nominee and former Living Single a actress is set to star in Empire co-creator Lee Daniels' untitled girl group pilot, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.
Written, created and directed by Daniels, the project centers on three young women who form a girl group with hopes of making it big in the industry, and the choices they face along the way to success and stardom.
Queen Latifah will play Carlotta, the owner of an Atlanta beauty salon who boasts an amazing voice and becomes a surrogate mother to the three girls — even though she doesn't approve of their musical aspirations. After a nationwide search, newcomers Jude Demorest, Ryan Destiny and Brittany O'Grady have joined the project as the members of the group.
Demorest will play Star, the tough 18-year-old who spent her childhood in and out of foster homes after her mother's death and who will do whatever it takes to become a true star. Destiny has been cast as Alexandra, the wealthy 20-year-old who grew up on New York's Upper East Side but has tried to put her privileged world behind her for years so she can make authentic music. O'Grady rounds out the group as Simone, Star's younger sister who dreams of the day Star will come back to rescue her from the abusive foster home in which she was placed five years before.
Tom Donaghy (The Whole Truth) co-created the drama and is on board to write and executive produce. Pamela Oas Williams (Lee Daniels' The Butler) and Effie Brown (Dear White People) also serve as exec producers. The pilot, which is produced by 20th TV and is the first under Daniels' overall deal with the studio, begins production this month in Atlanta.
The project was first announced this summer at Fox's summer press tour.
Fresh off her role in NBC's hit live production of The Wiz, Queen Latifah also earned an Emmy nomination for her starring role in HBO's Bessie. She earned an Oscar nomination for her role in Chicago. She is repped by CAA, Principato-Young and Eisenberg Tanchum.