Will Jussie Smollett be back for “Empire” Season 6?
A spokesperson for the star tells “Extra,” “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. Most importantly, he is grateful to FOX and ‘Empire’ leadership, cast, crew and fans for their unwavering support.”
Fox Entertainment and 20th Century Fox TV released their own statement to Entertainment Weekly, saying, “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.’”
The news comes after Jussie was accused of paying brothers Abel and Ola Osundairo to stage an attack on him in Chicago in January, then lying to police about it. All 16 felony charges were dropped, and Jussie always maintained his innocence. Now, the city of Chicago has filed a civil suit against Smollett in hopes of recouping costs of the investigation. In addition, the two brothers have now filed a defamation lawsuit against Jussie’s attorneys.
Earlier this month, Jussie’s co-star Toby Onwumere said he didn’t know what was in store for Smollett. Tanika asked Toby about a rumor that their characters Kai and Jamal “will get married and ride off into the sunset.” Toby replied, “Look, I am the last person they tell… I have no idea, so we’re waiting to see.”
We also spoke with show creator Lee Daniels last week at our studio at Levi’s Times Square. He told us at the time, “The cast is upset, it is a sad time, and we are slowly healing,” he said, adding, “What I am learning right now is I can’t judge, that that judgment is for that man wearing that black coat with gavel and God. I can only support him because he is like my son, he is my son, so I am with him, I can only support him and give him compassion.”
“Empire” airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. on FOX. Check out the clip below from tonight's episode to see Cookie in the hot seat. Will she snitch?