‘Empire’ is officially coming back for sixth season at Fox, but Jussie Smollett is unlikely to reurn with it.
“By mutual agreement, the studio has negotiated an extension to Jussie Smollett’s option for season six, but at this time there are no plans for the character of Jamal to return to ‘Empire,’” Fox Entertainment and 20th Century Fox Television said in a statement, according to Variety.
During the fifth season, Smollett was assaulted in Chicago (where production occurs) that he said was racially and politically motivated, as well as homophobic.
Later he was accused of hiring the men who attacked him and indicted for filing false statements. The criminal charges were dropped in March, and Smollett has maintained his innocence, but the city of Chicago also filed a lawsuit against the actor in order to recoup the cost of the police investigation.
The fifth season of the show saw the Lyon family trying to reclaim their music company but challenged with even heavier personal struggles than before, such as the emergence of Lucious’ secret first-born son who was hell-bent on destroying his father and eldest Lyon son Andre’s cancer diagnosis.
“’Empire’ continues to break barriers with its emotionally powerful storytelling, and it remains a core part of the Fox legacy,” said Fox Entertainment’s president of entertainment Michael Thorn. “We want to thank everyone on the show – Taraji, Terrence and the entire cast, as well as Lee, Danny, Brett, Sanaa, Brian, Francie, Dennis and their teams – all of whom have done a tremendous job this season. We know there are so many more stories to tell, and we can’t wait to see what they have in store for Season Six.”