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Empire’s series finale aired in April and wrapped up the story of hip-hop mogul Lucious Lyon and his family. The series was also meant to be the last we saw of Terrence Howard on screen. Last year, the actor revealed that he was “done with acting” after the end of the Fox drama. However, Howard is coming out of actor retirement early for an exciting new TV project.
Linking up with Ozark producer Zero Gravity Management, Terrence Howard will next star in the pilot for Delta Blues, a one-hour drama about the late blues composer and musician William Christopher (W.C.) Handy, often referred to as the Father of the Blues. Per Deadline, Howard will also be making his directorial debut on the show. Star alum Evan Ross will also be joining the cast. It’s unclear what Howard and Ross’ roles will be on the show, but it’s important to note that neither will be portraying Handy.
Set in 1903, Delta Blues will explore W.C. Handy’s life as a musician, from leading Mahara’s Minstrels to joining the Black Masonic brass band, the Knights of Pythias, and composing his first blues songs. After landing his first major hit in 1914 with “Saint Louis Blues,” Handy moved to New York and became the first to publish blues music, catapulting it to new levels of renown. However, Handy struggles with his newfound success amidst the continued racial injustices of the Jim Crow era.
Terrence Howard said that the Delta Blues' script was “better than bacon” and too good to pass up, which is why he’s coming out of retirement to star in and direct the series. In a statement, Howard had this to say about the project:
This story is about our history and has to be handled very carefully. I am committed to telling the truths of the times, even the uncomfortable truths.
Delta Blues has not yet been picked up by a network or streaming service. I’d wager that Zero Gravity Management’s involvement with the drama might mean that Netflix could pick up the show. The entertainment company has produced two Netflix series already with Ozark and the Octavia Spencer-led drama, Self Made: Inspired by the Life of Madam C.J. Walker. However, it’s anyone’s guess at this point regarding where Delta Blues could land.
I’ll be interested to find out if Terrence Howard does actually retire after Delta Blues or if he’ll simply transition to directing more TV projects in the future. At this point, only time will tell, but I’m definitely looking forward to Howard’s next major series. It sounds like it’ll be a good one.
Stay tuned to CinemaBlend for updates on Delta Blues. In the meantime, be sure to check out our 2020 fall TV premiere schedule for information on every new and returning show.