Fox has further shown its confidence in critically acclaimed drama Empire by extending the show's second season to 18 episodes. Fox Television Co-Chairman and CEO Gary Newman said the second season will be split into two nine-episode half seasons with a cliff-ganger ending in the fall portion.

EmpireEmpire has been a huge, if unexpected hit, for Fox

Co-chairman and CEO Dana Walden said the network is currently looking at ways to maintain the show's momentum. The first season grew unexpectantly week on week and became the No.1 show in terms of social media activity, surpassing AMC's The Walking Dead.

More: Empire: can a hip-hop soap opera really work?

In further news, Walden said Ne-Yo had signed on to help write the music for the second season. Superstar producer Timbaland had written most of the songs for the first season. Walden also claimed that Fox had an "amazing" line-up of guest stars scheduled to appear opposite regulars Terrence Howard and Taraji P. Henson in the second season.

Empire will remain its 9pm timeslot on Wednesday, which Newman said would "reward loyal fans who made it appointment television in that timeslot." However, he noted that despite the show's adult content, he would have "no problem" putting it in an 8pm timeslot, either. 

More: David Duchovny: "X-Files will return soon rather than later"

Elsewhere in the Fox announcement, it was confirmed that American Idol will air its fifteenth and final season, while The X-Files reboot with David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson will premiere on January 24, following the NFL NFC championship game. 

Zooey Deschanel's New Girl will take a break until mid-season (to accommodate Deschanel's real-life pregnancy), returning Tuesdays in January. 

More: With money in the bank, Zooey Deschanel finally divorces Ben Gibbard