Fox Orders Lee Daniels Music Drama Pilot 'Star'

Lee Daniels - S 2015
Courtesy of Sunshine Sachs

Lee Daniels - S 2015

Fox opened its day at the Television Critics Association's summer press tour with a big announcement: The network is teaming with Empire co-creator Lee Daniels for a new music drama pilot. 

Fox TV Group chairman and CEO Dana Walden announced that the network has ordered Star, a drama pilot set in the music business. 

"Like Empire, it's set against the backdrop of the music business but from a different perspective," Walden said. Daniels will write, exec produce and direct Star. Tom Donaghy (The Whole Truth) will serve as a writer and executive producer on the pilot alongside Daniels. Sources tell THR that Fox picked up the pilot based only on an outline from Daniels.

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The drama is set in Atlanta and revolves around three girls who come together to form a band. Star details their rise to the top in a challenging business. And while Empire is told from the point of view of music executives, Star will be told from the perspective of the artist. 

Walden noted that one of the characters would be rising out of poverty, with much of the drama taken from Daniels' point of view, which she said "lends some authenticity from these worlds."

Walden noted that the plan isn't for there to be immediate crossovers with Empire, though that is not completely off the table. Both series are set in modern-day — with Star in Atlanta and Empire in New York. Walden called Star a mixture of music, drama and soap — basically like Empire.

The pilot pickup comes a month after Daniels inked a massive overall deal with Walden and her fellow Fox TV Group chairman and CEO Gary Newman's sibling studio 20th Century Fox Television. 

The decision to expand its relationship with Daniels comes after Empire rewrote network TV ratings this past season, reinvigorating the struggling network — and broadcast television as a whole.

Star joins Urban Cowboy as early drama pilots at Fox as the network continues to shift to year-round development.