TV One’s acquisition of the cable rights to Fox broadcasting’s hit series Empire is a “game changer” for the 12-year old network, TV One president Brad Siegel said during the network’s Thursday morning upfront breakfast event.
As part of the network’s major deal with 20th Century Fox Television, the African-American targeted network in May will air every episode from the current season of Empire leading up to the sophomore series’ May 18 finale on Fox.
In addition, TV One will run episodes from the first and second seasons of the music-themed drama starring Terrence Howard and Taraji P. Henson throughout the summer, according to Siegel.
The deal, terms of which were not disclosed, is the biggest acquisition for the 12-year old network, which is known mostly for its original docu-series such as Unsung as well as classic sitcoms such as Sanford & Son. Siegel told Multichannel News that the network had been negotiating with series producer 20th Century Fox Television for two months before landing the deal.
“For TV One, to be the home for the number one drama on television that coincidently happens to be centered around an African-American family and has the largest African American audience, is a game changer,” said Siegel. “There’s no more perfect show for TV One.”
The Empire deal was one of several programming announcements made during TV One’s upfront presentation. On the original movie front, the network will air 26 tele-films in 2016, including 14 straight weeks of original films from Memorial Day to Labor Day, according to D’Angela Proctor, TV One senior vice president of original programming and production.
The network will also launch several new reality series including Sneaker Pawn, which follows 17-year old entrepreneur Chase Reed’s New York-based sneaker business; and Family Bond, a docu-series that follows a family-owned bail bonding company.
TV One will also jump into the game show genre with The Dating Games, in which groups of families and friends compete against each other to correctly answer questions about the actions of two people on a date, Proctor said.