If Glee put pop remixes on TV and Nashville did country, then Empire takes on the hip-hop world. The new music-driven show premieres tonight on Fox, and it's bound to get your feet tapping in a whole new way. The show focuses on Lucious Lyon (played by Terrence Howard), the music mogul at the head of Empire Entertainment, and his over-the-top family who helps him run the label. It has all the elements of a hit-worthy drama, complete with a wife fresh out of jail (Taraji P. Henson), three sons who work in the business, and an amazing soundtrack produced by Timbaland.
Not to be missed: Breakout star Grace Gealey, who plays Anika Gibbons, the head of A&R for the company as well as Lyons's girlfriend. We caught up with Gealey when she stopped by InStyle’s offices in New York recently, and she gave us a bunch of juicy deets about what you can expect. Here are the five things Gealey wants you to look out for during tonight's premiere.
1. The Music
“All of the music is original,” Gealey said. “Everyone goes into the studio and does their thing, and I don’t get to hear it ahead of time. Even if you’re not into hip hop, you can’t not like it,” she added. “It’s that good.”
2. The Killer Wardrobe
Describing her character as “very today and fashion forward,” Gealey is enjoying Anika’s closet. “She wears Gucci, Tom Ford, and Fendi, and she has Louboutins, Valentinos and Manolo Blahniks,” Gealey said. “She’s fierce—I’m like, how am I going to live up to her in real life?”
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3. The Catfights
It’s only fitting that the nemesis of Gealey’s character is her husband’s ex-wife, Cookie (Henson). But while the pair spars onscreen, they shake it off when the cameras stop rolling. “Something will go down in a scene, and then they say ‘Cut,’ and I’ll say, ‘Hey, girl! We’re good,’” said Gealey. “We make jokes. She’s a great partner, and it’s more fun than anything to do these scenes with her.”
4. The Many Sides of Terrence Howard
“He’s a very gracious and present partner,” Gealey said of working with Howard. “Just wait and see—it’s gonna be a shocker. He and Taraji both do phenomenal work on the show, so you’re going to see a gamut of what they can do.”
“We talk a lot about the issues that have been facing the black community,” Gealey said. “It’s very relevant.” She added, “I feel like of all the situations that will be presented, you’ll be able to relate to at least one of them.”
Tune into Empire tonight at 9 p.m. ET on FOX, and check out the trailer for the show below.