“Empire” Renewed Without Jussie Smollett’s Character

The network negotiated an extension to his contract to leave open a possible return, but that appears unlikely.

Fox has renewed Empire for a sixth season on Tuesday, but it appears the show will go on without Jussie Smollett’s character, Jamal Lyon.

“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,” Fox Entertainment and 20th Century Fox TV said in a statement to Fox News.

jussie smollett empire
FOX via Getty Images

He was originally cut from the show back in February, but was brought back after the cast sent a letter in support of him to the network.

A spokesperson for Smollett said in a statement that the actor was “grateful to Fox and Empire leadership, cast, crew and fans for their unwavering support.”

“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.”

Smollett has been sued by the City of Chicago for more than $130,000, to reimburse the police department for its hate crime investigation against him. The actor has maintained his innocence and all charges against him were dropped. He agreed to perform community service and to giving up $10,000 in bond money.

Meanwhile, the brothers, Abimbola and Olabinjo Osundairo, who allegedly attacked Smollett—who claimed he was attacked by anti-gay, racist Trump supporters—are suing the actor’s lawyers. They are claiming Smollett setup the attack on himself, and that his attorneys, Mark Geragos and Tina Glandian, then lied about what occurred.

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