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New TV drama Empire breaks 23-year ratings record

RECORD BREAKING: Empire stars Terrence Howard (centre, standing) and Taraji P. Henson (left, sitting)

A NEW American hip-hop drama starring Terrence Howard and Taraji P. Henson has taken the television community by storm in the five weeks since its premiere, with record breaking ratings

Lee Daniels’ Empire has broken a ratings record that has stood for more than 23 years as the only prime-time scripted series to grow in total viewers over each of its first five telecasts since at least 1991.

The FOX show, starring Crash's Howard and Karate Kid's Henson, is averaging 14 million viewers and a 5.6 rating among adults 18-49 and is, according to FOX, their strongest hour-long show this season.

The drama centers around a hip-hop music and entertainment company, Empire Enterprises, and the drama among the members of the founders' family as they fight for control of the company.

The show focuses on Lucious Lyon (Howard), whose place in the music industry has been unchallenged until his health starts to fail.

He then has to choose which one of his three sons will take over, until a spanner is thrown into the works in the form of his ex-wife, Cookie (Henson), who is released seven years early from prison.

Empire marks Daniels' TV directorial debut and follows his huge 2013 hit The Butler, which starred Forest Whitaker and Oprah Winfrey.

British supermodel Naomi Campbell also has a recurring role in the show. On casting Campbell, Daniels said: "Naomi is a beautiful actress.

"I am truly thrilled to have one of my close friends join us."

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