As if this news wasn't a given after its record-breaking ratings run this spring, FOX has officially announced that hit drama Empire will be returning to the network's ranks this fall. But that wasn't the only news that came from the network's announcement. Empire will also enjoy an 18-episode run this upcoming season, up six episodes from its previous 12-episode run, with nine episodes during the fall season and nine the following spring. Another new development for the show is that songwriter/singer Ne-Yo will be joining the series' songwriting team alongside the show's music supervisor, Timbaland (though it's unclear whether or not he'll be working with Jim Beanz, who also plays Titan on the show, or replacing him altogether).
In casting news, Lee Daniels and crew have landed a few major gets for the season. Comedic veteran Chris Rock, singer/songwriter Alicia Keys and rocker — and one of Daniels' go-tos — Lenny Kravitz have all signed on the dotted line to appear. Others rumored to appear are Oprah Winfrey and Common, though no confirmation has been given. With its high ratings and penchant for high profile guest stars, though, we're sure some other big names will grace the halls of Empire Entertainment (even Brandy threw her name in the ring during a recent talk show appearance).
Season two of our new favorite show should be an interesting one, as it left off with a few plot twists (if you haven't finished watching season one yet, avert your eyes), including the seeming death of Vernon (Malik Yoba), Lucious Lyon (Terrence Howard) awarding control of Empire Entertainment to his son, Jamal (Jussie Smollett), and our main girl Cookie (Taraji P. Henson) taking part in a coup to oust Lucious from the head of the company table and land him in a jail cell.
While we contemplate what else could be in store for the Lyon family and Empire Entertainment this fall, you can catch up on anything you might've missed with our Empire Watch recaps and check out the full first season on Hulu Plus. See you this fall!