“Empire” will return for a sixth season, but the same can’t definitely be said for Jussie Smollett.
“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.
That means the studio isn’t including him in the series, but is leaving open the possibility of his 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. Most importantly, he is grateful to Fox and ‘Empire’ leadership, cast, crew and fans for their unwavering support,” a spokesperson for Smollett said in a statement.
Smollett does not appear in the final two episodes of the show’s current season, having been written out as he grappled with the aftermath of what Chicago police have said was a staged attack.
The decision, producers said at the time, was made to “avoid further disruption on set.”