By _YBF

 photo nino-muncc83oz_empire-cast-e1426864067825.jpg

FOX announced some major updates to its forthcoming tv season today: MORE “Empire” but NO MORE “American Idol”. Deets inside…

Attention #CookieMonsters….Taraji and Terrence’s hit series EMPIRE has been supersized! Thanks to a record-breaking first season (check the receipts here) FOX has upped the show’s initial Season 2 order of 12 episodes to a monster sized 18. The network plans to split its 18-episode second season into two different halves with Part 1 in the fall, ending with a cliffhanger, and Part 2 in the spring.

But wait….there’s more! Grammy-winner crooner/producer/singer Ne-Yo has been booked to write music for Season 2, joining the series’ music producer Timbaland.

Fox chairman and CEO Gary Newman, who spoke at the network’s Upfront presentation on Monday morning, told the audience, “The stories we’ve heard already for season 2 will blow away the audience.” Gary added that FOX has no plans to change Empire’s timeslot….which is bad news for ABC’s “Black-ish,” which saw a ratings decline during the week’s it competed against “Empire.”

“Empire” will return Wednesdays at 9 p.m. ET this fall.

In other FOX announcements…

The show that brought us Ruben Studdard, Jennifer Hudson, Fantasia Barrino and countless other talents is coming to a close after its 15th season. Earlier today, FOX revealed that the LAST time “American Idol” will appear on its lineup is January 2016 (the show’s 15th season).

Why would FOX cancel a show that’s generated millions and create bonafide superstars? Well….insiders point to a huge decline in ratings and the show’s inability to produce superstars over the past few years. There haven’t been any Kelly Clarksons or Carrie Underwoods lately. #noshade

The cancellation was “not an easy decision,” said Fox Networks Group co-chief Gary Newman, but “we all felt collectively it was time to bring American Idol to an end.” He added, the 15th season “will be a true season-long celebration” with “surprises we can have for fans.”

A press release from FOX confirmed that Ryan Seacrest, Jennifer Lopez, Keith Urban and Harry Connick Jr., will be on board for the final run. Season 14’s two-night finale starts Tuesday, 9 p.m. ET/PT and Wednesday, 8 p.m. ET/PT.

Photos via Nuni Munoz/FOX

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