Network executives said there are currently “no plans” for actor Jussie Smollett to return for the show’s final season.
By Marina Fang, Huffington Post
The Fox series “Empire” will end after its sixth season, premiering this fall, network executives announced Monday.
Executives also reiterated that there are currently “no plans” for actor Jussie Smollett to return to the show for its final season, which will feature 20 episodes instead of its usual 18.
Smollett has not appeared on “Empire” since earlier this year, after he faced charges that he staged a hate crime in order to get a salary increase for his work on the show. Officials in Chicago later dropped the charges.
Smollett’s castmates, including stars Taraji P. Henson and Terrence Howard, rallied behind him. They urged the show’s producers and Fox executives to bring him back to the show, citing the dropped charges.
“Throughout Empire’s five seasons working with Jussie and watching how he has conducted himself throughout this traumatic event, we have come to know not just the character Jussie portrays, but also truly come to know Jussie’s personal character. He is kind. He is compassionate. He is honest and above all he is filled with integrity,” they wrote in a letter last month. “He is also innocent and no longer subject to legal uncertainty with the criminal charges against him having been dropped. We are confident in his lawyer’s assurance that the case was dismissed because it would not have prevailed.”
Network executives said the show will move from its current time slot on Wednesdays to Tuesdays at 9 p.m., competing with NBC’s popular drama “This Is Us.” They plan to make the final season a “large TV event,” according to The Hollywood Reporter.
This article originally appeared in the Huffington Post.