‘Empire’ Showrunner Ilene Chaiken Inks Overall Deal With 20th Century Fox TV

Ilene Chaiken has inked an overall deal with 20th Century Fox Television, Variety has learned.

Under the multiyear pact, worth seven figures, the “Empire” showrunner will stay at the helm of the Fox hit, and she’ll be able to develop her own projects for the studio.

“Ilene is about as gifted a showrunner as there is in this business, and we could not be happier that she has made this studio her home,” said Jonnie Davis, president of creative affairs at 20th. “This deal not only keeps her at the helm of the monster hit ‘Empire,’ on which she has done extraordinary work delivering episode after brilliant episode, but also allows us to develop future projects with her.”

“Empire,” which was renewed for a second season earlier this year, is the season’s top broadcast series in the coveted 18-49 adult demo, according to Live +7 ratings. Throughout its first season, the megahit unprecedentedly grew week-to-week, wrapping up with 17.6 million viewers on the finale night — and, with DVR numbers figured in, averaged 21 million for the season.

Chaiken, who co-created “The L Word,” exec produces “Empire” with Lee Daniels, Danny Strong, Brian Grazer and Francie Calfo. Daniels and Strong created the series and wrote the pilot. The drama, which served as a breakout role for Taraji P. Henson who stars opposite Terrence Howard, hails from Imagine Television and 20th Century Fox.

Chaiken is repped by WME and 3 Arts.

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