Jussie Smollett Won’t Return to ‘Empire’ for Next Season

Actor Jussie Smollett—who was charged with multiple counts of disorderly conduct earlier this year before they were dropped—will not be returning for Empire’s sixth season. Fox Entertainment said in a statement Tuesday there were no plans for Smollett’s character to return to the show for the new season. “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,’” the studio said. A representative for Smollett expressed hope that the actor would return to the show at some point in the future. “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,” the representative said. “Most importantly he is grateful to Fox and ‘Empire’ leadership, cast, crew and fans for their unwavering support.”

Smollett’s character was reportedly cut from the show in the last two episodes of season five, when the actor was dealing with the fallout after he allegedly staged a racist and homophobic attack on himself earlier this year. Smollett was originally charged with filing a false police report on the alleged phony attack, but his charges were dropped. He now faces a lawsuit from the city of Chicago over extra costs the city incurred while investigating the attack.