TV One Just Nabbed the Cable Rights for Fox’s Smash Hit ‘Empire’

Network renews 7 series, green-lights 7 more

TV One is entering its awkward middle-school years, but as the African-American themed channel heads into its 12th year, it sees an opportunity for reinvention.

"The great thing about adolescence is that we're not quite fully formed; we're ready to try new things," Rahsan Lindsay, evp of sales, told buyers today during TV One's upfront presentation at the Helen Mills Event Space and Theater in New York.

During its first 11 years, the network positioned itself as a culturally relevant, family-friendly channel for African-American audiences. And it's coming off a year in which it saw its highest ratings and revenue, thanks to a 23 percent increase in original content.

"That has served us well and still serves us well," said TV One president Brad Siegel. "But we need to move forward. We need, as an adolescent, to grow."

Even though it's only four months into 2016, Siegel and svp of programming and production D'Angela Proctor spent the majority of the presentation looking ahead to 2017, save for one big announcement: The network acquired the cable rights to Fox's hit drama Empire.

In May, TV One will air a marathon of all 17 episodes of Empire's second season in the lead-up to the season finale on Fox. Then in the summer, it will start airing both seasons of the show.

For 2017, Proctor touted a slate of original programming that includes 26 original movies and seven new series in addition to seven returning shows. TV One is making original movies a major priority, more than doubling the number slated for 2016. 

"Two years ago, when I started at TV One, we thought it was great that we had one original movie," Proctor said. But for the 15 weeks between Memorial Day and Labor Day in 2017, the network will debut a new film every week.

New series
Sneaker Pawn
Family Bond
The Dating Games
#Murder
For My Woman
Thou Shalt Not
Evidence of Innocence

Returning series
Unsung
Unsung Hollywood
Hollywood Divas
Rickey Smiley For Real
Fatal Attraction
For My Man
Justice By Any Means