Fox Entertainment has confirmed that Empire will be renewed for season 6. However, there are no plans in the works to keep Jussie Smollett on the show.
In late January, Smollett told authorities that he was a victim of a racial and homophobic assault. The 2 men that assaulted the actor were arrested but were later released due to evidence that suggests the actor may have hired the men as part of a publicity stunt. Despite all charges being dropped, the city of Chicago filed a lawsuit against the actor to recoup the expenses for the police investigation.
Fox provided the following statement, “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.”
According to Variety, a spokesperson for Smollett provided the following statement:
“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.”