The Fox Network announced on Monday that the sixth season of “Empire” would be the show’s last. The news came days after announcing the cancelation of “Star,” which filled the time slot following the hit urban music drama for the past three years.
“We are turning the final season into a large TV event, we are trying to go out guns a blazing,” Fox Entertainment CEO Charlie Collier said during Fox’s Upfront conference call on Monday, according to Deadline.com. “You allow fans to lean in and have the ending they deserve.”
When pressed on whether Jussie Smollet would return to the show, Collier reportedly said while there’s an option for the embattled star to return, “we have no plans for that,” adding that Empire’s writers haven’t begun sketching out the show’s final season yet.
Last month, Fox Entertainment announced Smollett would not return to the series next season in the wake of allegations by Chicago officials the actor lied about a supposed racially motivated attack.
“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 studio said in a statement that gave no reason for the decision.
Shortly after, a Smollett representative released a statement to several media outlets suggesting a hope that he may eventually return.
“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,” the statement read. “Most importantly he is grateful to Fox and ‘Empire’ leadership, cast, crew and fans for their unwavering support.”