FOX’s Empire was, simply put, a smash-hit this year. The primetime drama about record executive Lucious Lyon, his label, and his family averaged 17.3 million viewers per episode and a 7.1 rating among adults 18-49, including DVR, according to Entertainment Weekly.
“The network has enlisted actor-comedian Chris Rock, pop star Alicia Keys and singer and Hunger Games actor Lenny Kravitz for roles next season, Fox TV chairman and CEO Dana Walden announced to advertisers in New York on Monday.”
That’s huge. Obviously, the show’s guests last season — Estelle, Jennifer Hudson — were great and fit the narrative, but didn’t generate the level of interest that a superstar like Rock or Keys would. The company also said that it will expand the season from 12 episodes to 18. The first bunch will appear this fall and then finish next year.
Also of note, Ne-Yo will be joining the cast behind the scenes, joining Timbaland in writing all of the show’s music. While there have been rumors that Oprah and Common will also appear, EW notes that both stars have yet to confirm their involvement.