Terrence Howard

*Fox liked what it saw in the pilots for Lee Daniels’ hip-hop themed drama “Empire” and Steven Spielberg’s coming-of-age drama “Red Band Society.”

The network announced Tuesday that it has ordered both projects to series, reports the Associated Press. Both will be part of Fox’s 2014-15 schedule.

Daniels is writing, directing and producing “Empire,” starring Terence Howard as the head of a record label and Taraji P. Henson as his ex-wife. Macy Gray, Gabourey Sidibe, Jussie Smollett, Malik Yoba, Kaitlin Doubleday, Trai Byers, Grace Gealey and Tasha Smith round out the cast. Timbaland will serve as the show’s songwriter and music producer.

octavia spencer

Octavia Spencer toplines the ensemble cast for “Red Band Society,” an unconventional drama-comedy about teenagers set in a hospital pediatric wing. Spencer will play Nurse Jackson, who works in the pediatrics ward. She’s an excellent, intuitive nurse and a tough customer who doesn’t put up with any BS from anyone.

The announcements preceded next week’s network fall schedule presentations to advertisers in New York…a.k.a. “the upfronts.”