*Lee Daniels is planting his flag at 20th Century Fox Television.
The co-creator of “Empire” has signed a multiyear overall deal with the studio, it was announced Monday.
Under the pact, he’ll remain an executive producer on the smash hit, which he also directs. He will also develop, write, direct and supervise new projects for the studio under his Lee Daniels Entertainment banner.
The studio’s move to lock him down was inevitable, given “Empire’s” tremendous success. It’s the No. 1 scripted series on broadcast of the 2014-15 season and ranks as the highest-rated broadcast drama in seven years.
“Lee Daniels has a gift for telling authentic, provocative stories that are both truthful and wildly entertaining,” said Fox TV Group chairmen and CEOs Dana Walden and Gary Newman. “His casting instincts are incredible, whether he is discovering tomorrow’s stars or attracting the most accomplished performers to his projects. As a director, he elevates world class material to even greater heights, balancing heart-wrenching poignancy with surprising moments of levity that are over the top and fun. Quite simply, we love working with this inspired storyteller, and this deal is about extending and deepening our relationship.”
Added Daniels: “I’m incredibly excited to continue my relationship with Dana and Gary and the rest of the Fox team. I’m looking forward to developing content and finding alternative voices for both in front of and behind the camera.”
Twentieth TV also signed “Empire” showrunner Ilene Chaiken to a rich overall deal in May.
In addition to “Empire,” which went back into production last week, Daniels is also set to helm an untitled Richard Pryor biopic for the Weinstein Company.