The news that actor/singer Jussie Smollett may not be returning to Fox’s hit hood rich music drama series Empire made the rounds yesterday. Fox Entertainment released a statement saying that, as of now, there are “no plans” for Smollett’s character, Jamal, to return to the show:
“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 Twentieth Century Fox Television said in a statement, per Variety.
But Fox notably extended Smollett’s contract, meaning, the studio could decide to wait and see if the media radioactivity surrounding Smollett subsides. If it does, its possible Smollett would return to the series sometime in the future.
That’s assuming there is a series to return to; Fox announced there will be a season 6 of Empire but its too early to see if there will be a season beyond that. However, as one of the network’s biggest shows, its likely Empire will be around at least a couple more years.
But ratings have struggled as of late, and most assume that’s due to the press surrounding Jussie Smollett’s MAGA “assault”. You’ll recall Smollett claimed that a couple of MAGA hat wearing bandits attacked him on the dark streets of Chicago and then doused him with an unknown chemical while shouting pro-Donald Trump slogans.
But two Nigerian brothers who worked closely with Smollett on Empire later confessed to staging the “crime” at Smollett’s direction.
Smollett became the superstar he always aspired to be but maybe not under the terms he wanted as people everywhere debated whether he was lying or telling the truth.
The case ensnared a broad cast of players with an intriguing web of storylines that could have made several Empire episodes.
Among the characters: Chicago District Attorney Kim Foxx, now embattled and facing investigation, along with questions over whether she tipped the scale and improperly influenced the decision to drop all of the charges pending against Smollett after she said she would recuse herself from the case.
Meanwhile, the full cast of Empire sent a letter to Fox honchos asking for Smollett to be allowed to return to the show. That note came after widespread reports that there was a divide on the set of Empire, with some supporting Smollett, and others anxious to see him exit stage left.
But Lee Daniels was recently asked if he believed Smollett’s globally-discussed tale of late night woe. When news of the attack first became public, Daniels initially said he was with Smollett all the way.
That’s before Smollett’s story fell apart.
Daniels’ latest response wasn’t so encouraging for Smollett. Many saw Daniels’ newfound reluctance to co-sign Smollett’s version of things as a sign Smollett would be ghost on Empire–at least for the upcoming season.