'Empire' Renewed For Season 6, 'No Plans' For Jussie Smollett To Return
Jussie Smollett plays Jamal Lyon in the hit series.
Following the incredibly messy saga in January in which Smollett's claim that he was violently attacked on the streets of Chicago proved to be fabricated, the actor's future with Empire now looks to be uncertain.
While the series has now officially been renewed for a sixth season, Fox has issued a statement to E! News saying there are currently no plans for Smollett's return.
“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.
Michael Thorn, President of Entertainment for Fox Entertainment, added in a statement:
"Empire continues to break barriers with its emotionally powerful storytelling, and it remains a core part of the FOX legacy."
He continued, "We want to thank everyone on the show-- Taraji, Terrence and the entire cast, as well as Lee, Danny, Brett, Sanaa, Brian, Francie, Dennis and their teams -- all of whom have done a tremendous job this season. We know there are so many more stories to tell, and we can't wait to see what they have in store for Season Six."
After he was accused of faking the attack which allegedly took place in Chicago, it was decided by producers that he would be written out of the final two episodes of the fifth season, with the final episode in which Smollett's character appeared in showing him getting married to Kai (Toby Onwumere) and presumably go off on his honeymoon.
Smollett originally claimed that he was attacked on January 29 by masked assailants who yelled racial and homophobic slurs, poured bleach on him and hung a noose around his neck before running off.
However, his story began to unravel when two brothers, Ola and Abel Osundairo, told investigators the actor had paid them US$3,500 to stage the attack, said Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson.
Smollett was later charged with filing a false police report, but the case was later dropped. The 36-year-old continues to maintain his innocence, telling reporters, “I’ve been truthful and consistent on every single level since day one.”