5 fast facts about the Fox series ‘Empire’

5 things about "Empire" The Fox series was created by filmmaker Lee Daniels It centers on the Lyons family, the owners of the Empire entertainment company It stars Bryshere Y. Gray, Jussie Smollett, Trai Byers, Taraji P. Henson and Terrence Howard The first episode aired in January 2015 In May 2018, it was renewed for a fifth season

“Empire” was recently renewed for a fifth season

In 2015, the bold and binge-worthy TV drama “Empire” hit the airwaves.

» RELATED:Listen toJussie Smollett chat about his debut album and 'Empire' | accessAtlanta podcast

The Fox series was an instant hit, garnering millions of viewers each week as fans delved deeper into the lives of the fictional Lyon family, which heads the record label Empire.

Want to learn more about the show? Here are five things you should know.

The story takes place in New York, but it’s filmed in Chicago. 

The series portrays events that occur in New York. The Lyons live in NYC and their Empire record label is also headquartered in the city.

While filmmakers use establishing skyline shots of NYC, many of the scenes are actually filmed in Chicago.

Taraji P. Henson and Terrence Howard have previously worked together. 

Henson and Howard, who play on-again, off-again couple Cookie and Lucious Lyon, respectively, have shared the screen before. In 2005, the two collaborated in the critically-acclaimed film “Hustle & Flow.” The flick followed a Memphis pimp, who attempts to become a successful rapper.

They also both appeared in the films “Animal,” “Four Brothers,” and “Term Life.”

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Jamal Lyon’s character is based on Lee Daniels’ personal life. 

Daniels, whose credits include “Precious” and “The Butler,” drew from his personal life to create Jamal Lyon, the middle child of Cookie and Lucious. The character has often endured abuse from his homophobic father, who struggled to accept his gay son.

In a flashback scene from season one, Lucious throws Jamal in a trashcan after he sees him wearing heels. Daniels once recalled experiencing a similar interaction when he was a boy.

"I walked down the stairs with high heels on, and he put me in the trashcan," he once told ET. "I think that's where Precious came from, because I remember the stench. I remember the dark, the cold, my mother trying to fight, and then me, thinking that I was Aladdin on a carpet escaping."

The show has broken records. 

In 2015, Fox reported that "Empire" was the only primetime scripted series to grow in total viewers over each of its first five telecasts since at least 1991.

In 2015, "Empire" scored the highest-rated regularly scheduled episode of any broadcast network drama since "Grey's Anatomy" in September 2010, according to Vulture.

“Star” is a spinoff of “Empire.”

After the first season of “Empire,” Daniels announced that he was developing a spinoff titled “Star.” The show, which is filmed in Atlanta, is based on three young singers trying to navigate the music business.

Starring Queen Latifah, the drama premiered in December 2016 on Fox, and a crossover episode of the two series aired in 2017. “Star” has recently been renewed for a third season.

Listen to the accessAtlanta podcast on iTunes to hear Smollett chat more about his career. Subscribe here

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