Star (TV series)
|Composer(s)||James S. Levine|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||2|
|No. of episodes||30 (list of episodes)|
|Running time||43 minutes|
|Picture format||1080i (HDTV)|
|Original release||December 14, 2016– present|
Star is an American musical drama television series created by Lee Daniels and Tom Donaghy for Fox. It revolves around three talented young singers who navigate the music business on their road to success. The series, which is set in Atlanta, consists of original music, along with musical fantasy sequences, as dreams of the future. Queen Latifah, Benjamin Bratt, Amiyah Scott and Quincy Brown co-star.
The series premiered on December 14, 2016. With the premiere of the series, Amiyah Scott became the third openly transgender person to play a trans major character in a scripted television drama series in America, after Laverne Cox on Orange is the New Black and Jamie Clayton on Sense8.
Cast and characters
- Jude Demorest as Star Davis, a tough 18-year-old who spent her childhood in and out of foster homes after the death of her mother Mary. Wanting to pursue a career in music, she forms a girl group, Take 3 (formerly Big Trouble), with her half sister Simone and best friend Alex in Atlanta. Though she has a lot of talent, her egotistical nature tends to bother others.
- Brittany O'Grady as Simone Davis, Star’s biracial 16-year-old half sister. She is rescued by Star from the abusive foster home in which she was placed five years before. While supportive of her sister's ambitions, Simone has dreams of her own, and will do whatever it takes to achieve them. In Season 2, she ends up in state custody for abusing marijuana. She is then liberated from juvie by Ayanna and ends up marrying Angel in a bid to avoid being recommitted.
- Ryan Destiny as Alexandra "Alex" Crane, a wealthy 19-year-old who grew up in New York and Star's best friend. She is looking to step out of the shadows of her famous father and make it on her own, and becomes increasingly involved in political advocacy through her boyfriend Derek. However, she struggles to escape her toxic relationship with her parents, especially her alcoholic mother Rose.
- Amiyah Scott as Cotton Brown, Carlotta's transgender daughter. She works at her mother's salon and helps the girls kickstart their career. She also has a troubled relationship with Carlotta, as the latter has not accepted her daughter's transition, and is not understanding or fully supportive of the difficulties she faces as a trans woman, although she slowly comes around. After stealing money from her boyfriend Elliot, Cotton is sent to prison, but eventually gets released.
- Quincy Brown as Derek Jones, Alexandra's boyfriend who lives next door to the girls. He is a civil rights activist affiliated with the Black Lives Matter movement, and is committed to civil disobedience. After a car accident leaves him paralyzed from the waist down, their relationship becomes strained. Derek ultimately breaks up with Alex to start a relationship with his physical therapist.
- Benjamin Bratt as Jahil Rivera (seasons 1–2), a talent manager who believes Take 3 is his ticket back to the top. However, he is hobbled by both a cocaine addiction and money problems. In Season 2, it is revealed that he faked his death with the help of Carlotta to avoid being framed for Hunter's murder. He ends up forming a new duo with his nephew Angel to compete with Take 3. In the mid-season 2 finale, Angel fires him as manager and he goes on a drug-fueled bender before briefly slipping into a coma. He is later shot in a drive-by shooting while shielding Andy and dies in season 2.
- Queen Latifah as Carlotta Renee Brown, the owner of an Atlanta beauty salon, who worked with Mary Davis in the R&B duo Mixed Harmony back in the 1990s. She becomes a surrogate mother to the three girls, even though she doesn’t approve of their musical dreams. At the end of Season 1, she takes over as manager from Jahil. Her attempts to make Take 3 a success prove largely ineffective as the girls struggle with their own problems, and in the mid-season 2 finale, her salon is burned down. She is eventually promoted to a senior position within Midtown by Ayanna.
- Miss Lawrence as Miss Bruce (season 2; recurring season 1), a genderqueer hairdresser who works at Carlotta's salon, taking over from her as owner when she commits to managing Take 3.
- Luke James as Noah Brooks (season 2), a formerly top-selling R&B artist at Midtown Sound looking to make a much-needed comeback after his career collapsed due to alcoholism. He is a charming sweet talker with an ambitious streak, and strikes up a relationship with Alex, Star and Gigi, at first for promotion, but it gradually evolves into an affair.
- Michael Michele as Ayanna Floyd (season 2), the unsympathetic president and CEO of Midtown Sound, the record label that signed Take 3. She forms a maternal bond with Simone, even becoming her legal guardian, but also enables her to maintain her addiction to prescription drugs. At the mid-season 2 finale, she is disgraced and removed as president of Midtown after being caught trying to buy the label out from under her father. She is later restored to her former position after getting him fired for sexual harassment of a Midtown artist.
- Stephen Dorff as Brody Dean (season 2), Star’s long lost biological father who re-emerges as the girls get their first taste of fame, but turns out to have an agenda concerning Hunter's death. Upon discovering the abuse Hunter inflicted on Star, however, he leaves town after murdering Hunter's mother, Arlene. He is subsequently electrocuted to death by Arlene's twin sister in revenge.
- Brandy Norwood as Cassie Brown (season 3; recurring season 2) , Carlotta's younger sister, who is deeply involved in organized crime. She and Andy strike up a relationship, but after he steals money from her, she tries to have him murdered, only to kill Jahil by accident. Andy later reveals her involvement to Carlotta out of guilt after accidentally shooting Ayanna while trying to forge a check in her name.
- Lenny Kravitz as Roland Crane, a legendary rock star and Alexandra's father. (season 1)
- Darius McCrary as Otis Leecan, Simone's abusive foster father. He is murdered by his wife when he tries to force Simone to return home. (season 1)
- Chad James Buchanan as Hunter Morgan, Star's ex-boyfriend, who was physically abusive towards her. He is Jahil's godson and a young NFL star, but has secretly been using banned substances to prolong his career. He is killed along with Eva, when a hitman mistakes him for Jahil. (season 1)
- Nealla Gordon as Arlene Morgan, Hunter's mother. She didn't approve of Hunter's relationship with Star, and blames her for her son's death. After failing to get a police investigation, she starts blackmailing Star's father Brody to spy on his daughter. However, he stabs her to death after learning about Hunter's abuse. (seasons 1–2)
- Naomi Campbell as Rose Spencer-Crane, Alexandra's mother, who struggles with alcoholism. (seasons 1-2)
- Tyrese Gibson as Pastor Bobby Harris, Carlotta's ex-boyfriend. He does not accept her transgender daughter Cotton as a woman, and Carlotta eventually breaks up with him. (season 1)
- Jasmine Burke as Danielle Jackson, a worker in Carlotta's shop and Gladys Knight's niece. She is shot and killed by police during a traffic stop after they assume she has a gun. (season 1)
- Sharlene Taulé as Eva, a Dominican girl whom Jahil saves from a trafficking ring. He later discovers that she is an amateur singer, and has plans to take Star's place in his girl group. She and Hunter are killed on the season finale when a hitman mistakes Hunter for Jahil. (season 1)
- Joseline Hernandez as Michelle, a stripper at the Magic City strip club and one of Jahil's lovers. She becomes Cotton's roommate halfway through the first season. However, she ends up betraying Cotton by stealing her money and fleeing Atlanta. (season 1)
- Caroline Vreeland as Mary Davis, Star and Simone's mother who died of a drug overdose, which turns out to have been partially caused by Star. Mary was a member of the R&B duo Mixed Harmony with Carlotta in the 1990s.
- Jack J. Yang as Elliot, Cotton's boyfriend. He abandons her when she refuses to give up prostitution, and she steals money from him for her surgery. After her release from prison, however, he gives her a secretarial job at his construction firm. He dies after being severely beaten by Cotton's former cellmate, Omari. (seasons 1–2)
- Paris Jackson as Rachel Wallace, a social media expert hired by Jahil to promote Take 3. In Season 2, she becomes a consultant for Midtown Records, but leaves after Ayanna is fired.
- Elijah Kelley as Andy, a Harvard graduate and aspiring singer who is an assistant to Ayanna Floyd. Jahil taps him to form a duo with his nephew, Angel, then dies while trying to protect Andy from hitmen. (season 2) 
- Evan Ross as Angel Rivera, Jahil's nephew who helps him record new music. In turn, Jahil gets him to form a singing duo with Andy. After realizing that his uncle is more concerned with his interests than theirs, however, he fires him as their manager. He then learns that his father, Jahil's brother, is not his biological dad, and that he is an undocumented immigrant. After his attempt to get DACA protection is denied, he is arrested at Jahil's funeral and sentenced to deportation. (season 2)
- Lance Gross as Maurice Jetter, A&R at Midtown Records. He helps Carlotta navigate the treacherous currents of the company and his boss, Ayanna, but their relationship is destroyed when she catches him kissing his old girlfriend, Natalie. Maurice then sets his sights on persuading Star to leave Take 3 for a shot at a solo career. (season 2)
- Imani Lewis as Karen, a juvie teen and troubled friend of Simone. After her friend commits suicide, the two start a relationship, but Karen is soon transferred to a new facility after breaking curfew. During the mid-season 2 finale, she tracks down Simone, who vows to take care of her and lets her stay in Carlotta's salon. She is killed in the salon fire. (season 2)
- Justin Marcel McManus as Omari, Cotton's former cellmate and lover. He protected Cotton from transphobic inmates during her prison sentence. After getting an early release, he tries to force his way back into Cotton's life. When she breaks off their relationship for Elliot, he violently kills him and seemingly drowns Cotton in her bathtub. After Cotton survives, her aunt Cassie arranges a hit on Omari, but Cotton chooses to spare his life so long as he agrees never to return to Atlanta. (season 2)
- Patti LaBelle as Christine Brown, Carlotta's tough but loving mother. (season 2)
- Keke Palmer as Gigi Nixon, a famous, but hotheaded singer with a rough attitude who lands at Midtown Sound after befriending Alex and encourages her romance with Noah. Ayanna and Carlotta later learn that Ayanna's father Charles sexually abused Gigi during the early years of her career, and use that information to force him out of Midtown. (season 2)
- Missy Elliott as Pumpkin, a legendary rapper hired by Hunter to help Star with her block party. In episode 10 of the first season, she helps Jahil produce a new song for Take 3.
- Mike Epps as Jay Holland, the former label president of Midtown Sound, but was fired and replaced by Ayanna after Star slept with him to help further Take 3's career.
- Jussie Smollett as Jamal Lyon, a member of the Lyon family, from New York, who co-owns a powerful record company in the music industry (Empire Entertainment), for which he also works as an artist.
- Richard Roundtree as Charles Floyd, a legendary music label executive and Ayanna's father. He has a low opinion of his daughter's business acumen, and threatens to sell the label if she is unable to make it profitable. In the mid-season 2 finale, he receives photos from Jahil implying that Ayanna orchestrated Midtown's financial troubles in order to buy it out with one of his business rivals. Enraged by her disloyalty, he fires her as president and disowns her. In turn, Ayanna uses evidence of sexual harassment to get him fired from his own company.
- Teyana Taylor as Joyce Sheree, a popular singer who happens to be an old friend of Noah's. Star schemes to get Joyce on one of Take 3's songs after meeting her at a party, but Noah ends up snagging her for his song instead, sparking an argument between them. Joyce ends up overdosing on cough syrup while trying to destress, and winds up hospitalized.
- Meagan Good as Natalie Knight, a promoter and Maurice's ex-girlfriend who helps set up a tour for Noah and Take 3.
- Additionally, Big Boi, Tiny, Gladys Knight, Porsha Williams, Kelly Price, Monica Brown, and Quavo make appearances as themselves.
|First aired||Last aired|
|1||12||December 14, 2016||March 15, 2017|
|2||18||September 27, 2017||May 23, 2018|
Development and casting
In August 2015, Fox announced it had ordered a pilot for a potential new musical drama series titled Star from Empire-creator Lee Daniels about three girls forming a girl group. In October that same year, casting for the series began. It was revealed that the series would feature a transgender character. On December 7, 2015, it was announced that Queen Latifah had joined the cast as Carlotta, Jude Demorest as Star, Brittany O'Grady as Simone and Ryan Destiny as Alexandra. On December 11, 2015, it was confirmed that Benjamin Bratt has joined the cast as Jahil, a talent manager. On December 14, 2015, Darius McCrary joined the series as the abusive foster father of Simone (O’Grady). Production for the pilot began in December 2015. The series was picked up, with a 12-episode order, on April 27, 2016. On October 9, 2017, FOX ordered an additional five episodes for the second season, bringing the season total to 18 episodes.
On May 4, 2016, it was announced that Charles Murray would serve as showrunner during its first season. On September 13, 2016, it was announced that Charles Pratt Jr. would replace Murray as the series' showrunner, following his decision to depart the series, due to creative differences.
Following the conclusion of the show's first season, Pratt stepped down as showrunner and was subsequently replaced by Karin Gist.
|Season||Time slot (ET)||Episodes||Season premiere||Season finales||TV season||Rank||Viewers|
|1||Wednesday 9:00 pm||12||December 14, 2016||6.71||March 15, 2017||3.95||2016–17||#76||5.73|
|2||18||September 27, 2017||5.40||May 23, 2018||3.95||2017–18||TBA||TBA|
Awards and nominations
|2017||19th Teen Choice Awards||Choice TV Show: Drama||Nominated|
|2018||29th GLAAD Media Awards||Outstanding Drama Series||Nominated|
|20th Teen Choice Awards||Choice TV Show: Drama||Pending|
|Choice TV Actress: Drama||Pending|
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