Guest stars, plot twists, epic performances: What to expect from Empire’s Season 2 Spring premiere

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NEW YORK — Having taken TV audiences by storm in its record-setting first season, Empire returned this season as the No. 1 series on broadcast television among Adults 18-49, averaging 21.2 million viewers across multiple platforms. From its jaw-dropping story-lines to its chart-topping hip-hop soundtrack, EMPIRE instantly gained a legion of die-hard fans, creating a social media frenzy and making “Cookie” a household name. The series is the most tweeted-about scripted program on broadcast television on Twitter.

Where did we leave off? 

Cookie, Lucious and the entire Lyon family return with a vengeance when the series airs its Season Two spring premiere Wednesday, March 30 at 9 p.m. on FOX 61. The nominations for the American Sound Awards are in. Will Jamal or Lucious take home the prize for song of the year? Lucious announces his new streaming service, then is removed as CEO by a board vote. And who pushed Rhonda down the stairs in her and Andre’s new house?

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 and Andre Royo.

Still catching up? Let’s go back to the beginning

Lucious Lyon (Howard) is the king of hip-hop.  An immensely talented artist, the CEO of Empire Entertainment and a former street thug, his reign has been unchallenged for years.  But, after battling what he believed to be a terminal disease, Lucious challenged his sons (Jussie Smollett as Jamal, Bryshere “Yazz” Gray as Hakeem and Trai Byers as Andre) to compete for his throne, a task made all the more complicated by the return of their mother and Lucious’ ex-wife, Cookie (Henson), who was released from prison.

Season Two picked up three months after Lucious’ shocking arrest and incarceration at the end of last season. Knowing Lucious won’t be held much longer in prison, Cookie and her allies within the Lyon family make a desperate attempt to seize control of the company. But as the Lyons continue to battle each other, a bigger external threat emerges that could force them to unite.

Critically acclaimed 

With 35 nominations, EMPIRE is the most-nominated television series this season, and recently was named a Top 10 Television Program of the Year by the American Film Institute. It was the only broadcast series to earn a Golden Globe Award nomination this year in the category of Best Television Series – Drama. Additionally, Taraji P. Henson won the Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series – Drama. The series also earned a Grammy Award nomination for Best Compilation Soundtrack for Visual Media.

It’s all about the music

“Empire: Original Soundtrack from Season 1” was released in March 2015. It debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Top 200 chart and made history as the first soundtrack to debut atop the Billboard R&B/Hip Hop chart. To date, it has sold more than 1.7 million singles and 411k albums.

You can pre-order the Season 2 soundtrack here:

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