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‘Empire’ Will Not Bring Jussie Smollett Back for Final Season

Actor Jussie Smollett will not be making a comeback on Empire, despite reports that the show’s writers have been preparing for his return, the series co-creator said Tuesday. Citing sources, Variety had reported earlier Tuesday that writers had begun drawing up ideas in the expectation that Smollett would return to the show in the latter half of the 18-episode season. But co-creator Lee Daniels quickly disputed that there are any plans to bring Smollett back, offering the first public confirmation that he is off the series for good. “Jussie will NOT be returning to Empire,” he told Variety. The actor was written out of the show’s fifth season after police charged him with staging a hate crime against himself. The charges have since been dropped, but the city of Chicago is suing the actor for overtime pay the police accrued while investigating his claims.