The spinoff was first announced as being in development back in July, part of a first-look deal Henson had signed with studio 20th Television. Details on the series were sparse at the time it was announced except to say it would “follow what’s next for Cookie” following the series finale of “Empire.” According to an individual with knowledge of the situation, the project will be shopped to other outlets.
“Empire” co-creator Danny Strong was attached to write the series alongside Stacy A. Littlejohn and Yolonda Lawrence, with Sanaa Hamri on board to direct. Lee Daniels served as an executive producer alongside Imagine Entertainment’s Brian Grazer and Samie Falvey. Henson was also an executive producer on the project. 20th Television and Imagine Entertainment would produce.
Both Strong and Henson have other projects in the works at 20th TV. Strong is currently prepping the drama “Dopesick” for Hulu, while Henson has other TV projects in development.
One potential hiccup for the project was the fact that when it launched, 20th Television and Fox were part of the same company. Since then, 20th Television has been acquired by Disney and retains ownership of the show, while Fox Entertainment has no stake in it.
Henson skyrocketed to fame when “Empire” proved to be a breakout hit for Fox when it originally launched in 2015 to critical acclaim and massive ratings. The role ultimately earned her two Emmy nominations and a Golden Globe win for best actress in a drama series. “Empire” ended up running for six seasons on the broadcaster. The final episodes aired earlier this year, with the sixth and final season having been cut short due to the pandemic shutting down production.
Already an accomplished actress long before “Empire,” Henson’s star has only risen since the show debuted. She recently starred in the Oscar-nominated film “Hidden Figures” and previously starred in hits like “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” “Hustle & Flow,” and “Think Like a Man.” She earned an Academy Award nomination for best supporting actress for her role in “Benjamin Button.”