'Empire' renewed for sixth season; 'no plans' for Jussie Smollett's character to return

Fri. May 3, 2019 7:31 AM by OnTopMag.com

Out actor Jussie Smollett won't be involved in the upcoming sixth season of Empire.

The renewal of Empire for a sixth season was announced on Wednesday.

"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," Fox Entertainment and 20th Century Fox TV said in a joint statement.

In the show, Smollett played Jamal Lyon, the openly gay son of Lucious Lyon (played by Terrence Howard). In his final appearance on the show, Smollett's character married his boyfriend Kai (Toby Onwumere).

(Related: Empire makes history with first gay, black wedding on primetime television.)

A spokesperson for Smollett told Variety that the actor "appreciates they have extended his contract to keep Jamal's future open" and is "grateful to Fox and Empire leadership, cast, crew, and fans for their unwavering support."

Smollett's career faces uncertainty as he continues to face fallout related to an alleged hate crime in January. Police in Chicago claim that the actor hired two brothers to stage the attack. While all charges against Smollett were dropped, the city is suing Smollett for the cost of the investigation. The brothers have also filed a lawsuit against Smollett's attorneys for defamation. Smollett maintains he's innocent.

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