"At the end of the day we have to deliver the story of the Lyon family," co-creator Danny Strong tells PEOPLE

By Amanda Michelle Steiner
Updated March 11, 2015 01:00 PM
Credit: Noam Galai/Getty(2); Jason Merritt; Celebrity Monitor/Splash News Online

Empire co-creator Lee Daniels has been angling for the most exciting possible guest star ever: Oprah Winfrey.

Though the Fox series been able to land guest spots from Courtney Love, Jennifer Hudson, Judd Nelson, Naomi Campbell and others, Winfrey is not yet a convert.

“I tell him: ‘Lee, it’s not enough that you’ve taken every viewer possible on Wednesday night, now you want me to leave my own network?’ ” she told The Hollywood Reporter, to which Daniels “howl[ed] with laughter.” “I’m wearing her down!” said Daniels.

Winfrey and Daniels have worked together frequently in the past; she served as executive producer on his Oscar-winning 2009 film Precious, and she also starred in his 2013 film The Butler.

With regard to Empire‘s second season, co-creator Danny Strong is not as concerned with casting. “My only hope for next season is that we can keep it as strong, quality-wise, as this season,” Strong tells PEOPLE. “And I think we can do it. I think it is a really challenging show to put together. … I just want the show to stay as good as it can be,” he says.

“As for the Oprah of it all,” Strong continues, “I mean, Lee has been throwing out name after name and who knows if we are going to get some of these people or not. I’m less concerned about that. I mean, it would be exciting to get them but at the end of the day we have to deliver the story of the Lyon family and all the drama that ensues with that.”

Empire airs Wednesdays (9 p.m. ET) on Fox.

Reporting by PATRICK GOMEZ

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