Terrence Howard to Star in Fox's Lee Daniels Hip-Hop Drama

He'll play the head of a record label in the pilot from "The Butler's" Danny Strong and Brian Grazer.
Terrence Howard

Fox's Lee Daniels and Danny Strong hip-hop drama has found its top dog.

Terrence Howard, who starred in the duo's The Butler, landed the starring role in Empire, a family drama set in the world of a hip-hop empire, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.

Howard will play Lucious Lyon, the head of a record label, in the drama from The Butler's Daniels and Strong. Lucious is described as charismatic, tough, wise and a superstar in the music industry who oversees Empire Entertainment and is about to take the company public. Raised on the streets, he has never backed away from a fight and will resort to any measures, fair or foul, to defend his beloved Empire.

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The part marks Howard's latest TV role at Fox since joining the network's M. Night Shyamalan event series, Wayward Pines, which debuts in July. From 2010-11, he toplined NBC's short-lived Law & Order spinoff, Law & Order: LA.

Strong, who penned the script for The Butler, which was produced and directed by Daniels, is attached to write Empire, while Daniels will make his TV directing debut with the project. Strong and Daniels co-wrote the pilot. From 20th Century Fox Television and Imagine, Brian Grazer will exec produce alongside Daniels, Strong and Francie Calfo.

Howard is repped by CAA and Authentic Management. Since receiving a 2006 Oscar nomination for Hustle and Flow, Howard has starred in a slew of films, including Iron Man, Red Tails, Winnie Mandela, On the Road, Prisoners and Best Man Holiday, and has several projects in various stages, including Lullaby with Amy Adams, St. Vincent de Van Nuys and David Ayer's Sabotage.