20th Century Fox TV has started to lock in key creative auspices behind the studio’s blockbuster new Fox drama series Empire. 20th TV has signed a two-year overall deal with the series’ executive producer/showrunner Ilene Chaiken. Under the seven-figure pact, Chaiken will continue to run Empire, working alongside executive producers Lee Daniels, Danny Strong and Brian Grazer, as well as develop new projects.

“Ilene is about as gifted a showrunner as there is in this business,” said 20th TV president of creative affairs Jonnie Davis. “This deal not only keeps her at the helm of the monster hit Empire, on which she has done extraordinary work delivering episode after brilliant episode, but also allows us to develop future projects with her.”

EmpireIn its first season, Empire, from 20th TV and Imagine TV, averaged a 7.1 rating among adults 18-49. It is the season’s #1 broadcast series, #1 series with African-American viewers and the highest-rated broadcast drama since Desperate Housewives and Grey’s Anatomy during the 2007-08 season. The Season 1 finale’s 9.3 in Live+7 is the highest for a regular broadcast drama in over seven years (since House 2/5/08) and the highest rated freshman finale in nearly a decade (since Grey’s on 5/22/05). Growing consistently week after week, Empire finished its freshman season up +66% from its premiere in adults 18-49 L7, more than any new broadcast series in over nine years (since House, 04/05).

Chaiken, who created and executive produced the Showtime series The L Word, is repped by WME and 3 Arts.