TCA: Fox pushes “Empire” and “Scream Queens”

"Empire". (Deadline/Fox)
“Empire”. (Deadline/Fox)

It was Fox’s turn at TCA last week, with Empire as the main attraction.

Creator Lee Daniels told the crowd he was blessed to be employed, as some of his fellow colleagues aren’t so lucky. Taraji P. Henson, who plays the outspoken Cookie, said she was having the time of her life on the show, pointing out she’s more politically correct than her character is.

While working on Empire, Daniels revealed he has another project in the works for Fox: “Star”, an Atlanta-based program about three young women who form a signing group, which is now casting.

In a bit of vindication for Empire, the series won “Program Of The Year” at the TCA Awards Saturday night. Empire was snubbed by the Emmys for the most part, failing to get a nomination for Outstanding Drama.

As for the Michigan woman who is suing the show for “stealing her life based on Cookie”, Daniels said this: “Bye Felicia”.

Empire begins its second season on Sept. 23; a local promo for the show promoting the second season is already airing over WFLD-TV. Guest stars for the upcoming season include Pitbull, Chris Rock, Kelly Rowland, and Mariah Carey.

Good sign or not? When six minutes of footage from the new X-Files was screened by Fox Chairman and CEO Dana Walden, it didn’t exactly wow those in attendance. Many critics noticed the clip was more comical than it attended to be. On the subject of TV revivals, she noted their were new generations of fans embracing the content – not to mention fans who saw it the first time and not ready for the shows to run their course.

Fox said it was bringing back Prison Break, a drama it canceled six years ago, with the principal actors reprising their roles (they need to get the Coulson playbook from The Avengers to pull off this feat.)

Fox also announced its pregame and post-game show The OT would take place on the read carpet outside the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles the day of the Emmy Awards – despite not having a team in the region in over 20 years. But that could change as many as up to three teams are in the running could relocate to L.A. next year.

One panel that had the audience jumping was Scream Queens, a horror/musical created by Glee’s Ryan Murphy. In addition to a stellar young cast, it also marks the return of Jamie Lee Curtis to weekly series television in nearly 25 years. In Scream Queens, she plays a dean who often clashes with sorority leader Chanel Oberlin (Emma Roberts.)

The cast also features Lea Michele (Glee) and Chicago south suburban native Keke Palmer.

Curtis told the crowd Scream Queens was basically “a social satire about people who say horrible things”.

And it looks like the series will click – Marc Berman of TV Media Insights gave it 1-to-1 odds to succeed. With Empire and now Scream Queens, Fox is apparently back on track after a disastrous last two seasons.

Congratulations, John Stamos – you got Grandfathered! During this panel, Stamos discusses how his character finds out he is a grandfather without going on Maury“This is the show I’ve been waiting for” notes Stamos, who was looking for a project to fit his style for the last decade, noting the show reflects his personal life.

Stamos also took questions on the Full House revival, Fuller House, which premieres next year on Netflix, but didn’t seem too excited about Lifetime’s upcoming The Unauthorized Full House Story, which depicts him as not getting along with the Olsen twins.

During the panel for Grinder, a series about an actor (Rob Lowe) who plays a lawyer on TV, Fred Savage – who plays an actual lawyer on the show –  had a rather unusual request…he wants to create an app “where you can find Rob Lowe anywhere and have sex with him… we’re all of us a potential love interest for Rob.

I guess it’s long if it isn’t the Rob Lowe whose isn’t afraid to urinate in public bathrooms or eats a sandwich found on the bus.

Two other panels were dramas: Rosewood, which is Quincy, only set in Miami and Minority Report, a drama based on the movie and has Steven Speilberg as one of its co-producers.