9:30am PT by Gail Mitchell, Billboard.com
Mario Joins 'Empire' in Recurring Season 5 Role
Singer-actor Mario will be joining the cast of Fox's Empire as a recurring character, Billboard exclusively reported. The hit musical drama returns with season five on Sept. 26.
Mario will play the role of Devon, described by Fox as "an earnest, up-and-coming R&B singer who supports his ailing sister." Both the Empire label and Lyon Family Management are vying against each other to sign him. The season finds the Lyon family trying to build back their empire after losing the company at the end of last season.
Best known for contemporary R&B/pop hits such as "Just a Friend 2002," "Let Me Love You" and "Break Up," Mario also has a new album on deck. Dancing Shadows — due later this year on the singer-songwriter's New Citizen label — is his first album since 2009. Mario's prior acting credits include the TV series Love That Girl! and the films Freedom Writers and Step Up.
From Imagine Television in association with 20th Century Fox Television, Empire was created by Academy Award-nominee Lee Daniels and Emmy Award-winner Danny Strong and is executive produced by Daniels, Strong, Academy Award- and Emmy Award-winning producer Brian Grazer, Francie Calfo, Sanaa Hamri, Dennis Hammer, Matt Pyken and Diane Ademu-John. Brett Mahoney is executive producer and showrunner for the series.
A version of this story originally appeared on Billboard.