Marvin Gaye's Son Claims 'Empire' Was His Idea

Lee Daniels
Frank Micelotta/Invision/AP

Jane Fonda and Forest Whitaker, two of the stars of Lee Daniels' The Butler, were introduced to hearty applause before presenting Lee Daniels with the Hollywood Director Award. Daniels noted the irony of his award featuring the word "Hollywood" in its title because his film was made without the interest or support of virtually any Hollywood studio, noting that it was the late Laura Ziskin who is most responsible for making it happen: "On her deathbed we were rewriting the script. Literally."


Gaye's show, titled 'Diamonds & Ballads,' was said to have been shopped to various television executives, including ones with ties to 'Empire' co-creator Lee Daniels.

Marvin Gaye's son is reportedly gearing up to sue the makers of Fox’s Empire, claiming he had the idea for a similar-sounding series years ago. According to TMZMarvin Gaye III claims he registered a treatment for a show about a black family in the music business — think Dynasty with a hint of Sopranos — to the Writers Guild of America in 2010.

The show, titled Diamonds & Ballads, was said to have been shopped to various television executives, including ones with ties to Empire co-creator Lee Daniels, who said last year that he "wanted to make a black Dynasty." Empire co-creator Danny Strong has cited William Shakespeare’s King Lear as the inspiration for the show.

Gaye’s lawyer tells TMZ he plans to file a lawsuit against Daniels, Fox and others. The legal threat follows the Gaye family’s court win against Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams over their hit "Blurred Lines." The unnamed attorney remarked, "We understand that three things can't be hidden for long: the Sun, the Moon and the Truth!"

A request for comment sent to an address found on Gaye's website was not immediately returned.

Over the weekend, Empire won TV program of the year at the TCA Awards in Beverly Hills. A month ago, the hit show was snubbed by the Emmys.