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Terrence Howard looking forward to new baby, ‘Empire’

Shonda McClain | 1/5/2015, 10:39 a.m.
Terrence Howard has more than just a new television show in the works.

Terrence Howard has more than a new television show in the works. The Oscar-nominated actor (“Hustle and Flow”) is expecting his fourth child with his third wife, Miranda.

Howard, 45, announced the good news at a New Year’s Eve celebration in Orange County, Calif. He has three children from his first marriage to Lori McCommas: Aubrey, 21, Hunter, 19 and Heaven, 17. Howard married Miranda in 2013 after a contentious divorce from his second ex-wife, Michelle Ghent.

Howard’s new series, “Empire,” debuts on Wednesday at 9 p.m. on Fox. The show, directed by Lee Daniels and written by Danny Strong (“The Butler”), follows the life of a self-made music mogul Lucious Lyon, played devilishly good by Howard. Lucious is diagnosed with a debilitating disease and decides to groom one of his sons to take over the family business - but he makes them compete for the coveted crown and a seat on the throne. Each son, or young prince, if you will, has something different to offer. Andre (Trai Byers) is the oldest and best-educated. He is already a successful businessman and believes that he should be the heir apparent. Jamal (Jussie Smollett), the middle child, is a musical prodigy, but he is gay, which makes him a liability in his father’s eyes. Hakeem (Bryshere Gray) is the youngest and an aspiring rapper. He is his father’s favorite, but he is spoiled and lacks the motivation necessary to run an empire.

Let the sibling rivalry begin.

Add an angry ex-wife to the mix, Cookie, played excellently by Howard’s “Hustle and Flow” co-star, Taraji P. Henson, and you’ve got the makings of a hip-hop Greek tragedy. “Empire” is melodrama at its highest form. It plays like an extended music video, artful and gleefully self-indulgent, but it also hits a few sour notes. The chemistry between Howard and Henson is palpable and is the show’s saving grace.

In addition to “Empire,” Howard also has a key role in M. Night Shyamalan's new miniseries, "Wayward Pines," also airing on Fox, which begins May 14. He stars with Matt Dillon, Carla Gugino and Melissa Leo. Follow me on Twitter @ShondaMcClain.