Strong, a writer and actor, best known for his role as Jonathan Levinson in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, was inspired to create Empire by King Lear and The Lion in Winter. ” The careers of Jay-Z, Puffy, and Kanye were very influential as well, he said.
AMA is a platform for anyone to start a conversation by first introducing themselves and offering to answer questions about a named topic. Commenters post questions, which the interviewee can then selectively choose from. Questioners can vote on questions they most would like to have answered.
As of this writing, 107 comments were posted, many about Strong’s career as an actor, but he managed to answer some on-topic questions about Empire.
Strong co-created Empire with executive producer Lee Daniels, who produced Monster’s Ball and directed The Butler. They met after Strong wrote the script for The Butler, which Daniels wanted to direct. That was the beginning of a long working relationship together for them—since it took so long to get the movie made, Strong said.
In the pilot episode of Empire, the song Jamal sings, Good Enough was written by Timbaland specifically for the character Jamal.
Strong says everyone on the show is “really cool, I love them. Terrence and Taraji are great leaders and a lot of fun.” He also touted a very positive experience working with the FOX TV network.
The co-creators pitched the show to FOX, ABC, NBC, and CBS and although all four networks bid on it, Strong and Daniels chose FOX because of its success with GLEE and “They also really got it.”
With Empire already signed up for a second season, Strong fielded a series of questions about how many more episodes are coming, what will Lucious and Cookie do next, and whether or not Denzel Washington will make a guest appearance.
Strong couldn’t really say how many episodes would be aired next season as he is focused on writing the final episodes for Season One. And as for Lucious, Cookie, and Denzel, “you’ll have to watch to find out,” he said.