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Monaco, 8 June - The 55th Monte-Carlo Television Festival will open on Saturday, 13 June with an exclusive screening of the first episode of the ground-breaking television drama Empire, it was announced today by Laurent Puons, CEO of the Festival.

Leading stars from the drama, Academy Award and Emmy® Award nominee Taraji P. Henson (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Person of Interest) and Academy Award® nominee Terrence Howard (Crash, Hustle & Flow) as well as executive producer and co-creator Danny Strong (Lee Daniels’ The Butler, Game Change) are flying into Monaco for the Red Carpet Opening Ceremony and to celebrate the much-heralded series, which is set to launch on ProSieben Germany in the coming weeks and M6 France later this year.  

Since its recent launch in the US Empire - a drama about a family dynasty set within the world of music, glamour, danger and power - has already emerged as a massive ratings success, secured a second season order; cultivated a devoted loyal fan following, generated wide-spread media coverage and produced a hit soundtrack.

Laurent Puons comments, “The Monte-Carlo Television Festival is acknowledged around the world as the prime venue to screen new and innovative content and we are delighted to welcome the leading actors and the co-creator of Empire, the most-talked about series to launch in 2015.  We believe this year’s edition of the Festival will be an exceptional one and we are delighted to have such a stand-out series to get the week’s exciting events underway.”

Described by creator, Academy Award® nominee, Lee Daniels (Lee Daniels’ The Butler, Precious) as ‘black Dynasty’, Empire is set in the provocative world of hip-hop music and follows the fictional life of a former street thug turned powerhouse music industry mogul, Lucious Lyon (Terrence Howard).

When Lucious, who is an immensely talented artist and CEO of Empire Entertainment, is diagnosed with a debilitating illness, he must choose one of his three sons to become heir of his enormously successful music kingdom. Lucious’ favorite is his youngest son, Hakeem (Bryshere Y. Gray), who is a gifted musician but also a spoiled playboy who values fame over hard work. Middle son Jamal (Jussie Smollett, North, The Mighty Ducks) is a sensitive soul and musical prodigy who, unlike Hakeem, shies away from the spotlight. Eldest son Andre (Trai Byers, 90210), is Wharton-educated with a brilliant mind, but lacks the charisma that Lucious believes is critical to running the company successfully.

As Lucious prompts his sons to vie for his empire, his plans are thrown into chaos when his ex-wife, the brash and outspoken Cookie, (Taraji P. Henson) mysteriously emerges from prison to claim her share of the business. As the Lyons slug it out, an emotional chess game begins that will either cause the family’s destruction or redemption. Love, war, family, sacrifice, money and music: this is the story of Empire.

Empire was created by Daniels and Strong and is loosely inspired by Daniels’ real-life experiences. American rap star and producer, Timbaland, alongside songwriter and producer Jim Beanz, are responsible for creating the series’ original soundtrack, which topped Billboard’s R&B/Hip-Hop Album and 200 Album Charts in the US.

About the Monte-Carlo Television Festival

Held in the principality of Monaco for more than 50 years, the Monte-Carlo Television Festival has an exceptional history of celebrating the best in global television programming.

Launched by Prince Rainier III in 1961, the Festival’s primary objective was to recognise television as an outstanding means of bringing cultures together and enhancing their respective knowledge.  This objective is reflected in every aspect of the Festival’s history, as a host of renowned celebrities and industry leaders have travelled to Monaco from all over the world to participate in the event.   

The Monte-Carlo Television Festival is now a key annual event in the television industry calendar, attracting a host of acting and creative talent from around the world.  The event also hosts an extensive publicity programme within the prestigious Grimaldi Forum, which sees more than 3,000 press interviews taking place. Attended by more than 300 international print, online, radio and TV journalists, it generates press attention and coverage around the globe. 

From the Opening Ceremony to the Golden Nymph Awards Ceremony, an array of premiere screenings, receptions and parties take place throughout the Festival.


Pam Golum/Jennifer Price
The Lippin Group
+1 (323) 965-1990

Debbie Lawrence
The Lippin Group - London
+44 7771 850580

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