Fox has renewed popular hip-hop soap opera Empire for a fourth season. News of the early renewal was announced Wednesday during the Television Critics Association’s (TCA) winter press tour.
The fourth season will have 18 episodes, with a winter break in-between. Though ratings fell in the beginning of the third season, with its November 29 episode hitting a 2.3 series low in the key A18-49 demographic, Empire rebounded in time for the fall finale, drawing a 2.7. Overall, the series was down 39% from the 2015 mid-season finale.
Empire stars Terrence Howard, Taraji P. Henson, Jussie Smollett, Bryshere “Yazz” Gray, Trai Byers, Grace Gealey, Kaitlin Doubleday, Gabourey Sidibe, Ta’Rhonda Jones and Serayah McNeill. In addition to the regular cast, the series has featured guest appearances by a wide range of talented performers, including Chris Rock, Alicia Keys, Marisa Tomei, Naomi Campbell, Ludacris, Adam Rodriguez, Vivica A. Fox, Rosie O’ Donnell, Andre Royo, Mariah Carey and others.
The series was created by Academy Award nominee Lee Daniels and Emmy Award winner Danny Strong, and is executive-produced by Daniels, Strong, Academy Award- and Emmy Award-winning producer Brian Grazer, Ilene Chaiken, Francie Calfo and Sanaa Hamri.
Empire will return from its three-month winter hiatus on March 22.