nullFox executives revealed via a conference call with reporters today that season 2 of "Empire" will unfold over 18 episodes (the first season had 12), split into 2 halves, premiering in the fall this time (instead of as a mid-season replacement, which was the case during its first season), with the second half in the winter of 2016.

Also revealed, in an effort to maintain fan engagement until the fall, the cast of the hit series will be doing concerts this summer, in addition to other promotional efforts that kick off in June.

Fox says fans should expect even more "big-time" guest stars for next season, although they didn’t offer any specific names.

And finally, Ne-Yo and Timberland will write songs for season 2.

The series will remain in its Wednesday night, 9PM timeslot because, "We’d be crazy to move it. We want to thank and reward our fans by leaving it in is timeslot."

More to come…