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Fox's "Star" comes to us from the creator of "Empire" which, despite all the network's advertising, is not a good thing. Despite its ratings success, "Empire" is a muddled, ridiculous mess of a soap opera that's badly written and features some terrible performances.
But while Lee Daniels co-created (with Danny Strong) and launched "Empire," the show has been in the hands of executive producer/showrunner Ilene Chaiken ("The L Word") since then.
"Star" (Wednesday, 8 p.m., Fox/Ch. 13), on the other hand, is much more a hands-on project for Daniels. And that, too, is not necessarily a good thing his 2013 film "Lee Daniels' The Butler" was a ludicrous melodrama.
That's also an accurate description of "Star," a gritty musical melodrama that does not for one second feel real but is, at least, rather entertaining.
It's the story of three young women striving for singing stardom. Star Davis (newcomer Jude Demorest) is tough, determined and commits a major crime in the pilot. She and her sister, Simone (newcomer Brittany O'Grady), both grew up in foster care, but not together. They team up with Alex Crane (Ryan Destiny), who grew up rich and privileged.
Star is white; the other two are black. And when they get to Atlanta and are taken in by Carlotta (Queen Latifah), a mother figure of sorts, Star takes all kinds of crap because of her color.
The series begins with a flash forward Star about to take the stage as Carlotta intones, "Ever since Star was little, she believed her name was who she was. But I told her fame is a trip. It ain't love, like a lot of people think. But she wouldn't listen. Star didn't listen to nobody but herself."
It's all very gritty and unglamorous. Well, as unglamorous as a show interspersed with musical numbers can be.
And the musical numbers are very entertaining.
But "Star" is filled with lowest-common denominator dialogue. Like when the three young women are discussing stripping, and Simone says, "Look at Kim Kardashian. I love her. And she showed every hole in her body and now she's famous."
Or in Episode 2, Alex is in bed after sex with Derek (Quincy Brown), a guy she just met, and she says, "Where'd you learn to do all that?"
"I watch a lot of porn," he replies.
And, after Star tries to seduce Alex's father (Lenny Kravitz), she says, "I did not sleep with him, but I am a whore."
It's a classy show.
This is not a Daniels-only project. He co-wrote the pilot with co-creator/co-executive producer Tom Donaghy. And "Star" has been through two showrunners Charles Murray ("Sons of Anarchy") exited because of "creative differences" and was replaced by Chuck Pratt ("Melrose Place").
But this is Daniels' project, much more than "Empire."
Which could be a good thing. Or not.
Scott D. Pierce covers TV for The Salt Lake Tribune. Email him at email@example.com; follow him on Twitter @ScottDPierce.