The series stars newcomers Jude Demorest, Brittany O'Grady and Ryan Destiny as a girl group trio trying to make it in the music business in Atlanta, and not as an established music empire like the Lyons of Empire. But let's face it: if Empire hadn't been the runaway success it was, the network wouldn't push for another drama about musicians trying to make it despite difficult backgrounds. That's just the TV business.
The two shows are even crossing over in their respective upcoming premieres, with STAR's Queen Latifah guesting on Empire and Empire's Jussie Smollett dropping by STAR. But Lee Daniels, creator of both shows, didn't originally see the two as part of the same universe, let alone participating in a crossover.
"It wasn't the intent initially [to plan a crossover] because they were two separate shows," Daniels told reporters at the Television Critics Association summer press tour. "Fox suggested it, and I thought, 'Why?' Because I never saw [STAR] as part of Empire, it was its own entity. ... But Fox suggested it, and it seemed logical, so I just went with the flow."
But Queen Latifah, who plays Carlotta Brown on the show, disagrees.
"I always thought it was possible, so I don't know what this guy is talking about," Latifah, or "La" as she prefers, said of the crossover. "That was in my brain from Day 1. 'One day it could happen...' I love the fact that we come from different worlds and these shows can still remain autonomous yet crossover. It does make sense."
STAR will continue to push hot topics like police brutality, transgender issues and more in Season 2, as it's become a trademark of the series to be topical.
"We're trying to follow and watch these girls grow, to enjoy what it's like to come up with them, what it's like to get knocked down, while also being relevant," executive producer Karin Gist said of keeping things real and in the social conversation. "[Important topics are] super important to the show, I think it's what draws the different audience, it's what people expect of the show and Lee."
STAR returns Wednesday, Sept. 25 at 9/8c on Fox.