By his own admission, Empire co-creator Lee Daniels isn't the first guy you'd think of when it comes to bringing a hip-hop soap opera to primetime. For one, the Oscar-nominated director of acclaimed dramas like The Butler and Precious had never worked in television before he and Danny Strong co-created Fox's smash hit. ("I'm not Shonda Rhimes," he says. "This is not my world.") Second, his knowledge of hip-hop pretty much ended with N.W.A. "When I [produced] Monster's Ball, Puffy came in to audition, and I didn't know who he was," admits Daniels, 55. "But I know good music. I know what makes the sensations go." He's also savvy enough to listen to his kids, who recommended reaching out to Timbaland when he was looking for a music supervisor for his show.
The rapper and groundbreaking producer responsible for hits such as "Big Pimpin'" and "Cry Me a River" quickly signed on for the series, which has proved to be the breakout hit of the season, seeing its ratings go up every week since its January 7th premiere — an unprecedented streak in primetime te...
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