Queen Latifah Cast in ‘Empire’ Co-Creator Lee Daniels’ New Fox Drama

Newcomers Jude Demorest, Ryan Destiny and Brittany O’Grady round out lineup of girl-group pilot

Queen Latifah has joined the cast of “Empire” co-creator Lee Daniels‘ new untitled Fox drama pilot.

The series, focusing on the rise of an all-female singing group from Atlanta, will feature Latifah as the owner of an Atlanta beauty salon and a mentor to the women in the group.

Also joining the cast are newcomers Jude Demorest, Ryan Destiny and Brittany O’Grady as the members of the group. They’ll play Star, Alexandra and Simone, respectively.

The untitled drama is the first project to come out of Daniels’ overall deal with producer 20th Century Fox Television. Daniels and Tom Donaghy are co-creators of the project.

Fox announced the pilot order in August, during the Television Critics Association’s summer press tour. Speaking to reporters at the time, Daniels revealed that the series would be about a white woman named Star who forms a girl group with two black women.

“Star is white and she is thrust into a world of blackness,” Daniels told reporters. 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 has the possibility for a crossover with “Empire,” but there are no immediate plans yet, Fox’s Dana Walden stated that same day when asked by a reporter about 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.”

Latifah most recently appeared in NBC’s Dec. 3 broadcast of “The Wiz Live!” playing the title character.