Meet the Writers Behind Broadcast’s Biggest Hit

EMPIRE rulez. Which means that if you’re interested in writing for TV you should be interested in how the show’s writers became almost instant Hollywood Royalty. Therefore:

thr_empire_writers_roomby Lacey Rose

The writers room responsible for Fox’s hip-hop soap opera Empire is every bit as diverse as the juggernaut itself.

“We’ve got African Americans, Latinos, white writers — it’s this really cool blend of America,” says co-creatorDanny Strong, who spends his days in the Beverly Hills writers room with showrunner Ilene Chaiken and a newly expanded writing staff of 12 crafting the hit series’ melodramatic plot twists and tight, delicious dialogue.

In late August, the boisterous bunch took a break from brainstorming storylines for season two, which premieres Sept. 23rd, to pose for The Hollywood Reporter‘s cover story and tell us a bit about themselves. Here, are their stories.

Radha Blank

HOMETOWN New York
PRIOR GIG The Get Down (Netflix)
FAVORITE CHARACTER TO WRITE FOR “Cookie — I’m from Brooklyn and Harlem, and I know that voice: strong, unapologetic and still all woman.”
MOST PLAYED ARTIST ON MY IPOD Prince
FAVORITE TV SHOWS Match Game 78 and The Golden Girls

Jamie Rosengard (Writers Assistant)

HOMETOWN Dix Hills, N.Y.
PRIOR GIG Ilene Chaiken’s assistant on Black Box (ABC)
FAVORITE CHARACTER TO WRITE FOR “Hakeem! #TeamDimples”
MOST PLAYED ARTIST ON MY IPOD Florence + The Machine
FAVORITE SHOW “Top of the Lake. It’s coming back so it counts.”

Ilene Chaiken (Showrunnner)

HOMETOWN Elkins Park, Pa.
PRIOR GIG Black Box (ABC), The L?Word (Showtime)
FAVORITE CHARACTER TO WRITE FOR “I’m a mother. I don’t have favorites.”
MOST PLAYED ARTIST ON MY IPOD Bob Dylan
FAVORITE TV SHOW Orphan Black

Attica Locke

HOMETOWN Houston
PRIOR GIG “Three novels and 50 screenplays that were never produced.”
HOW I LANDED THIS JOB “Danny Strong says it’s because I told him he was cute during our interview.”
FAVORITE CHARACTER TO WRITE FOR Andre
MOST PLAYED ARTIST ON MY IPOD Lightnin’ Hopkins
FAVORITE SHOW Jane the Virgin

JaNeika James

HOMETOWN Tampa, Fla.
PRIOR GIG VH1 scripted development
FAVORITE CHARACTER TO WRITE FOR “Jamal. Cookie’s the heart of the show; Jamal is the soul.”
MOST PLAYED ARTIST ON MY IPOD Nicki Minaj and Lianne La Havas
FUN FACT Fellow writer JaSheika James is her twin sister.

Read it all at Hollywood Reporter