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‘Empire’ Showrunner Responds to Spinoff Rumors

There’s been much buzz about a potential “Empire” spinoff, ever since co-creator Lee Daniels said earlier this year that a follow-up series would happen “without question.”

This week, rumors resurfaced when upcoming “Empire” guest star Vivica A. Fox stopped by Bravo’s “Watch What Happens Live.

“I’m feeling like you’re going to be in a few episodes, and then there’s going to be a spinoff starring you. Confirm or deny?” host Andy Cohen asked Fox, who will make her debut on the hip-hop hit next week, playing Cookie’s (Taraji P. Henson’s) older sister.

“In limbo,” replied Fox. And when Cohen prodded her further about her involvement in a potential spinoff, she added, “Yes, absolutely. And I would jump at the opportunity.”

Variety spoke to “Empire” showrunner Ilene Chaiken about the possibility of an extension series, who said there no plans in place — as did both the studio and the network.

“Right now, we are focused on making the best season two of ‘Empire’ we can possibly make,” Chaiken tells Variety. “In our world, there may well be storylines and characters that we can spin off, but that’s not what we are focused on right now, and nothing official or concrete is happening with regards to it. We really just want to stay focused on what we’re doing.”

At TCA this summer, Lee pitched a Cookie-centric series, focused on her life growing up in Philadelphia, in addition to the backstory of Terrence Howard’s Lucious Lyon. “I think there is going to be a spinoff from ‘Empire’ without question,” Daniels said. “There is so much ripe story there.”

At the time of Daniels’ comments, the network and studio behind “Empire” clarified that no spinoff is formally in the works, but in an interview with Vulture, Fox Television Group boss Dana Walden said the possibility still stands and a spinoff could be put on the fast track for the 2016-17 season. “If there’s a character…that feels original enough, has enough momentum and enough of a storytelling engine, we will definitely look to spin ‘Empire’ off for next season,” said Walden, adding that said character “would, in all likelihood, appear in the second half of this season.”

Daniels has another music-heavy drama pilot, titled “Star,” set up at Fox, though it is not directly related to “Empire.” “Star” goes into production next month.

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