Taraji P. Henson, Terrence Howard and creator/writer/executive producer Lee Daniels speak onstage during the 'American Idol' panel discussion at the FOX portion of the 2015 Winter TCA Tour at the Langham Hotel in Pasadena, California.

Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

Hint: It's not P. Diddy or Jay Z.

Taylor Lewis
Feb, 08, 2015

It takes a little bit of this and a little bit of that to build an empire.

TMZ caught up with Lee Daniels, the creator of the Fox breakout hit, "Empire," to hear where he got the inspiration for Cookie, Lucious and our other favorite Wednesday night characters.

Denying rumors that "Empire" is based on the lives of P. Diddy or Jay Z, Daniels said that much of the show came from his own life and his obsession with the hit show, "Dynasty," which he grew up on. He also said that he looked to historical figures for inspiration.

"[It's] a lot of bit of my imagination, and a lot of bit of Joe Kennedy," he told the website, referring to the patriach of the Kennedy family who was responsible for grooming his politico sons. "It's the American dream."

We can see the connection, now!