‘Empire’ Creator Lee Daniels’ ‘Star’ Will Focus on White Woman ‘Thrust Into a World of Blackness’

TCA 2015: Writer will partner with ‘The Mentalist’s’ Tom Donaghy on new drama

Last Updated: August 6, 2015 @ 6:34 PM

“The Mentalist” writer and producer Tom Donaghy will work with “Empire” creator Lee Daniels on his new musical drama “Star,” Daniels revealed Thursday at the Television Critics Association summer press tour.

“Star” will be set in Atlanta against the backdrop of the music biz, much like “Empire.” This one, however, will tell the story from the perspective of the artists: three girls who came together to form a band in hopes of rising to the top.

Speaking to a small group of reporters after the “Empire” panel, Lee revealed additional details about the show, including that the name of the main character is Star.

“Star is white and she is thrust into a world of blackness,” Daniels said. He added, “She has a sister who is half black, Simone, and she has a best friend who is black, and they move to Atlanta to form a girls group.”

Asked about his inspiration for the show, Daniels said, “It’s based on Labelle, it’s based on the Supremes, it’s based on TLC, it’s based on Destiny’s Child. Same sort of inspirations, same sort of template when we created Empire.”

Music for the show will be created by Swizz Beatz.

The new pilot contains the possibility for a crossover with “Empire,” but there are no immediate plans for such a stunt, Fox’s Dana Walden stated when asked by a reporter earlier in the day after announcing the pilot order.

“It’s not inconceivable that the two worlds could cross, but that’s not Lee’s intention,” she said. “Perhaps down the line there will be some shared DNA, but not heading into the show.”

Daniels’ hip-hop soap opera “Empire” became the top drama across all of broadcast TV in its first season. During the Television Critics Association Summer Press Tour executive panel, Walden referred to “Empire” as a “shot in the arm for broadcast.”

For Season 2, the show is already pulling in a treasure trove of guest stars, including Pitbull, Chris Rock, Kelly Rowland and Ludacris, among others.

“‘Empire’ has just sent a shock of enthusiasm and excitement throughout the halls of our company,” Walden said of her first year atop the network with partner Gary Newman, who joined her on stage Thursday morning. Both executives are still in charge of Fox’s TV studio as well.