Empire will end its roller-coaster run on Fox after the upcoming sixth season, the network announced Monday, ahead of its Upfront presentation in the afternoon.
News of the a final season comes just two weeks after Fox renewed Empire for a season six, amid uncertainty over Jussie Smollett’s future on the show. At the time of the renewal announcement, there were “no plans” for the actor to return as Jamal Lyon, though Smollett’s contract had been extended to keep the option open.
Asked about whether that has changed, now that Empire will be ending after the next season, Collier remained mum. Pressed to give a more direct answer to the Smollett situation, Collier echoed what was said back in April: “There is an option [for him to return]. [At] this point, we have no plans for that.”
Fox renewed “Empire” for a sixth season late last month, adding that there were “no plans” for Smollett or his character to return to the show following his indictment disorderly conduct charges after Chicago prosecutors accused him of staging a hate crime attack against himself.
“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,’” the network said in a joint statement with studio 20th Century Fox TV at the time.
Smollett had previously been written out of the final few episodes of Season 5 after Chicago prosecutors charged him with multiple counts of filing a false police report, though those charges were later dropped as part of a deal requiring him to perform community service and forfeit $10,000 bond.
— Empire (@EmpireFOX) May 9, 2019