Empire will be returning to FOX for a sixth season but Jussie Smollett will not, at least as things stand right now.
Said Fox Entertainment and 20th Century Fox TV in a statement on Tuesday: “By mutual agreement, the studio has negotiated an extension to Jussie Smollett’s option for Season 6, but at this time there are no plans for the character of Jamal to return to Empire.”
A spokesman for Smollett released a statement to Variety: “We’ve been told that Jussie will not be on ‘Empire’ in the beginning of the season but he appreciates they have extended his contract to keep Jamal’s future open. Most importantly he is grateful to Fox and ‘Empire’ leadership, cast, crew and fans for their unwavering support.”
Last week, six members of the Empire cast wrote a letter to producers of the show, pleading with them to bring Jussie Smollett back for the sixth season.
“We are confident in his lawyer’s assurance that the case was dismissed because it would not have prevailed,” they wrote in the letter.
Smollett was indicted on 16 felony counts of disorderly conduct on March 6 for falsifying reports that he was the victim of a hate crime. Those charges were abruptly dropped on March 26 and the case sealed with no new evidence that materially changed the facts presented in the case.