Fox Confirms There Are 'No Plans' to Bring Jussie Smollett Back for 'Empire' Season 6
If you were wondering why Fox extended Jussie Smollett's contract for the upcoming sixth season of Empire, Charlie Collier, CEO Fox Entertainment, explained at the Television Critics Association Summer Press Tour.
"You try to gather all the information, and you try to make a good decision at the time," he said. "There's no plans for Jussie to return to Empire."
"We worked really closely with our partners at 20th [Century Fox] to gather every piece of information to do the right thing," Collier added.
Original story (6/5/2019):
Empire's final season will officially not include Jamal Lyon.
Creator Lee Daniels revealed in a tweet Tuesday that Jussie Smollett "will NOT be returning" to the Fox series for its last 18 episodes.
Daniels took to social media this week to indirectly address Smollett's alleged hate crime hoax.
That statement was in response to a report from Variety that the show's writers were beginning to work on Season 6 "with the expectation that Smollett would appear in the back half of the 18-episode season."
— lee daniels (@leedanielsent) June 4, 2019
The actor was removed from the end of Season 5 after allegations he lied about being the victim of a hate crime.
This update from Daniels shouldn't be too much of a surprise. When the series was renewed in April, Fox Entertainment and 20th Century Fox TV said in a statement, "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."
In April, Empire cast members Terrence Howard, Taraji P. Henson, Bryshere Y. Gray, Trai Byers, Gabourey Sidibe, and Nicole Ari Parker wrote a letter to Fox executives and series producers regarding Smollett's future on the show.
"Together as a united front, we stand with Jussie Smollett and ask that our co-star, brother and friend be brought back for our sixth season of Empire," they wrote. "There is a person in the center of all this who deserves nothing more than to move forward with his life. We understand that this show is a business. And that business matters to us as well. We are confident our fans will welcome our 'Jamal' back into the Empire family as enthusiastically as we will."
Empire, Sixth and Final Season, Fall 2019, Fox