12:15pm PT by Lesley Goldberg
Gabourey Sidibe Reunites With Lee Daniels on Fox's 'Empire'
Fox's Lee Daniels-Danny Strong drama is staging a Precious reunion.
Oscar nominee Gabourey Sidibe has booked a recurring role on the hip-hop family drama from The Butler duo, The Hollywood Reporter has learned. Additionally, Trai Byers and Grace Gealey have booked regular roles on the project.
In the 20th Century Fox Television family drama set in the world of a hip-hop empire, Taraji P. Henson stars as Cookie Lyon, the ex-wife of Lucious Lyon (Terrence Howard), the head of a record label at the center of the drama. Sidibe will recur as Becky, Lucious' hard-working assistant.
Byers will play Andre Lyon, Lucious' oldest son who is a brilliant and compelling guy with a dark side. Gealey will play Anika Gibbons, the head of A&R for Empire who is also Lucious' current lady friend who may be angling for a power position in the new Empire hierarchy.
The role reunites Sidibe with Precious director Daniels as well as 20th TV, where she starred on the third season of the studio's FX anthology series American Horror Story: Coven. Sidibe earned an Academy Award nomination for her lead role in Daniels' Precious.
Strong, who penned the script for The Butler, which was produced and directed by Daniels, will write Empire, while Daniels will make his TV directing debut with the project. From 20th and Imagine, Brian Grazer will exec produce alongside Daniels, Strong and Francie Calfo. Jussie Smollett, Bryshyere Y. Gray and Malik Yoa co-star in the drama, which will feature original and current music, with Timbaland on board as a songwriter/music producer.
Sidibe, who also had a supporting role on Showtime's The Big C, is repped by UTA, Jill Kaplan and Felker Toczek. Byers, a recent Yale School of Drama graduate, is with ICM Partners and Wishlab; Gealey is with Paonessa Talent Agency.