Cue Exit Music: Timbaland Leaves Empire, Rodney Jerkins and Ester Dean Board

Photo: Steve Jennings/Getty Images for Revd

Cue that baby crying in Aaliyah's "Are You That Somebody." Billboard reports that Timbaland, who has led the songwriting team at Fox's Empire since the show's beginning, has left the show. In his stead for the third season will be the four-time Grammy Award–winning producer/songwriter Rodney "Darkchild" Jerkins and songwriter Ester Dean. Jerkins, who is best known for working on songs like "The Boy Is Mine" and "Deja Vu," will take on the role as the supervising music producer, and Dean will be the songwriter. You would recognize Dean onscreen as Cynthia-Rose from Pitch Perfect, and behind the scenes she has written songs like Beyoncé's "Countdown," Rihanna's "S&M," and Nicki Minaj's "Super Bass." Also joining the team are Johntá Austin, Makeba Riddick, and Jesse St. John. Ne-Yo, who joined the songwriting team last year, is returning along with J.R. Rotem. This is the team that will be behind Mariah Carey's duet with Jussie Smollett, where she will make it go drip-drop, drip-drip-drippity-drop.