Taraji P. Henson and Terrence Howard’s TV drama Empire is to end after an upcoming sixth season.
The show, based around a music industry family, was recently picked up for another season, amid the drama of castmate Jussie Smollett’s assault and battery case, and now it appears this will also be the series’ final run.
There are still no plans for Smollett’s return to the show after he was arrested for allegedly filing a false police report in Chicago, Illinois and then released with all charges dropped.
City officials are currently sueing the actor for police overtime in the case, with Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Chicago’s top cop still convinced Smollett staged his own attack.
The drama overshadowed the most recent season of Empire, which featured the actor in a diminished role.
Fox network boss Charlie Collier made the final season announcement on Monday (May 3, 2019), calling the show Lee Daniels co-created a “groundbreaking cultural phenomenon”.
“We are turning the final season into a large TV event, we are trying to go out guns a blazing,” he said, revealing the sixth season will feature 20 episodes. “You allow fans to lean in and have the ending they deserve.”
Asked about Smollett’s involvement in Empire when the show returns, the CEO added, “There’s an option to have Jussie in the series but we have no plans for that.”
Smollett’s castmates want him back – Henson, Howard and many others signed a letter sent to TV bosses urging them to reinstate the embattled actor.