Fans of Fox’s hit series Empire has plenty to celebrate. The show’s social media has officially announced that it’s FINALLY been renewed for a sixth season.
This news brings some much needed relief to fans of the drama. However, in light of recent events, the show may be forced to go on without embattled actor Jussie Smollett. The Hollywood Reporter posted a statement from 20th Century Fox TV and Fox Entertainment:
“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.”
As you know, Smollett was written out of the last two episodes of the current season, due to his ongoing legal issues. However, the cast did write a letter to show runners, expressing their desire to have him back.
“We must stand together as a family. A family is there for us in good times and bad. It can cut through the noise and confusion to understand that there is a person in the center of all this who deserves nothing more than to move forward with his life,” the letter read in part. “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.”
A rep for the actor released a statement as well. The statement (via Billboard) states that he won’t be on for the beginning of season six, 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.”
So does this mean the end of Jamal Lyon’s reign on the show (or Smollett’s career, for that matter)? Looks like we’ll have to wait until the fall to find that out.