Fox Execs Decide Jussie Smollett’s Final “Empire” Fate

Will he be back for one last Lyon family reunion?

Will Jamal Lyon be jumping the pond from London for one last Lyon family reunion?

As NewNowNext previously reported, Empire showrunner Brett Mahoney recently revealed that “discussions are underway” to have Jussie Smollett reprise his role as Jamal before the Fox drama wraps its six-season run this spring. But now Fox Entertainment president Michael Thorn has chimed in on the matter.

“We’re not going to bring Jussie back to the show,” Thorn told TVLine. “As hard as a decision as that was, for us—and when I say us I mean the network, the studio and the producers—it felt like it was in the best interests of the show and the cast.”

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

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

Smollett had claimed in January 2019 that he was attacked by anti-gay, racist Trump supporters. Meanwhile, brothers Abimbola and Olabinjo Osundairo, Smollett’s alleged attackers, are suing the actor’s lawyers; they claim Smollett set up the attack on himself and that his attorneys, Mark Geragos and Tina Glandian, then lied about what occurred.

The actor was sued by the City of Chicago for more than $130,000 to reimburse the police department for its hate crime investigation. Smollett has maintained his innocence, however, and all charges against him were dropped.

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Smollett’s character was casually written out of the series; following Jamal’s wedding to partner Kai Givens (Toby Onwumere), the newlyweds were said to have run off to London to escape Lyon family drama.

“Our hope is that all of the controversy surrounding Jussie doesn’t overshadow the show, which we think is bigger than him,” Thorn said in his announcement that Smollett would not be returning.

Empire’s final season continues later this year on Fox.

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