The no-brainer announcement was made Friday at the Television Critics Association press tour in Pasadena, Calif., by chairmen and CEOs of Fox Television Group, Dana Walden and Gary Newman.
As the top-rated show on television, “Empire’s” fate was a sure thing, but the Season 3 pickup marks an early renewal, further proving the faith Fox has in its breakout hit.
Though down from the peak ratings it saw late in its first season, “Empire” remained the top-rated broadcast series in adults 18-49 during the first half of its second season. In the fall it averaged a 7.3 rating in the demo and 17.7 million viewers overall, according to Nielsen’s “live plus-7” estimates. It also ranks as the most-tweeted broadcast TV series.
The news comes days after Taraji P. Henson, who stars as the larger-than-life Cookie Lyon, won her first Golden Globe. Though the series didn’t win for best drama, “Empire” was the only broadcast show nominated in the major drama or comedy categories at the award show.
No announcements regarding returning cast members were made with the renewal. Henson stars alongside Terrence Howard as the dynamic Lyon duo. Jussie Smollett, Bryshere “Yazz” Gray, Trai Byers, Grace Gealey, Kaitlin Doubleday, Gabourey Sidibe, Ta’Rhonda Jones and Serayah McNeill round out the cast.
Known for its A-list guest stars, the current second season has welcomed Alicia Keys, Marisa Tomei, Naomi Campbell, Vivica A. Fox, Rosie O’Donnell and upcoming Oscars host Chris Rock.
The series is so successful, there’s been talk of a spinoff, though nothing is officially in development. However, co-creator Lee Daniels does have a pilot in the works — a diverse girl group-focused music drama, starring Queen Latifah — which is in contention for the 2016-17 season, and seems promising, given “Empire’s” success and the “get” in Queen Latifah.
Hailing from Imagine Television and 20th Century Fox, “Emprie” was co-created by Lee Daniels and Danny Strong who exec produce with Brian Grazer, Ilene Chaiken and Francie Calfo. Chaiken, who’s under an overall deal with 20th Century Fox, serves as showrunner.
Currently on midseason hiatus, “Empire” returns with the back half of Season 2 on March 30, following a midseason finale full of cliffhangers.