1920s Harlem Music Soap From L.A. Reid, 'Smash' Duo, Kenny Leon Set at Fox

'Cotton Club' will focus on the lives of black entertainers who performed at the club and the white gangsters who ran it.
Emma McIntyre/Getty Images; Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic(2); Bennett Raglin/BET/Getty Images for BET
From left: Craig Zadan, Neil Meron, Kenny Leon, L.A. Reid

Fox is looking for its next musical soap.

The network has put into development Cotton Club, a 1920s music drama from the all-star producing team of Craig Zadan, Neil Meron, Kenny Leon and L.A. Reid, The Hollywood Reporter has learned. The project, from Sony Pictures Television and Zadan and Meron's Storyline Entertainment, is being envisioned as an event series.

The drama is described as a sexy, soapy music series based in the hottest club in Harlem in the Roaring '20s, chronicling the interconnected lives of the black entertainers who performed there and the white gangsters who ran it.

Ayanna Floyd, a co-executive producer on Fox's Empire whose credits also include Hannibal, Falling Skies and Private Practice, will pen the script and serve as showrunner should Cotton Club move forward. Floyd will exec produce alongside Zadan and Meron — whose credits include NBC's Smash and all of the network's live musicals including Hairspray and The Wiz. Kenny Leon is on board to direct the pilot, should the script move forward. He also will exec produce and reteam with Zadan and Meron after helming The Wiz Live as well as Hairspray Live. The project also reteams Leon with Floyd, who worked together on ABC's Shondaland drama Private Practice.

Epic Records CEO Reid is also on board as an exec producer and will serve as the music supervisor after helping to shepherd acts including Bobby Brown, Boyz II Men, Outkast, Mariah Carey, Paula Abdul, Pink, Justin Bieber, Rihanna, Kanye West and more. Cotton Club brings the former Island Def Jam CEO back to Fox after serving as a judge on the network's The X Factor.

Mark Nicholson, John Rice and Joe Batteer are also on board as co-exec producers.  

Cotton Club arrives as Fox has already committed to additional seasons of Lee Daniels' Empire and Star for the 2017-18 broadcast season.

Zadan, Meron, Leon and Reid are all repped by CAA; Floyd is with ICM Partners, Rain Management and Erik Hyman.