‘Empire’ to End With Season 6 After Jussie Smollett Scandal

It’s almost time to say goodbye. Empire will end after season 6, Us Weekly can confirm.

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“Season 6 promises to be filled with drama, shocking surprises and more jaw-dropping moments,” Fox said in a statement on Monday, May 13. “The award-winning drama about a family dynasty set within the glamorous and sometimes dangerous world of hip-hop music has generated chart-topping hits, and socially relevant story lines, introduced ‘Boo Boo Kitty’ into the zeitgeist and delivered over-the-top OMG moments weekly.”

Empire End Season 6 Jussie Smollett Scandal
Jussie Smollett and Bryshere in Empire. FOX via Getty Images

The statement continued: “Cookie (Taraji P. Henson) and Lucious (Terrence Howard), the two larger-than-life characters at the center of the series, have taken viewers through the highs and lows that come with fame and fortune. As the series enters its final season, one thing is for sure, the Lyons never go out without a bang.”

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Empire End Season 6 Jussie Smollett Scandal
Jussie Smollett arrived at the Leighton Criminal Courthouse on March 14, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images

The news comes amid ongoing legal trouble surrounding former Empire star Jussie Smollett, after he reported to Chicago police in January that he was the victim of an alleged hate crime. The actor, 36, was later indicted on 16 counts of disorderly conduct in the case after he allegedly filed a false police report. In a stunning turn of events, all of the charges against Smollett were dropped in March. He has maintained his innocence.

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Amid the drama, Smollett was written out of the final two episodes of season 5. The decision led costars Henson, Howard, Bryshere Y. Gray, Trai Byers, Gabourey Sidibe and Nicole Ari Parker to pen an open letter to Fox bosses in April pleading them to bring Smollett back.

“Together, as a united front, we stand with Jussie Smollett and ask that our co-star, brother and friend be brought back for our sixth season of Empire,” the letter read in part. “We understand the past months have been difficult to process — sometimes the headlines brought more confusion than clarity, yet we now have a conclusion to this ordeal. 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. 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.”

Fox announced in April that there were “no plans for [Smollett’s] character of Jamal to return to Empire.”

Empire co-creator Danny Strong told Us exclusively in April that he would be “stunned” if the show was canceled. “I think they’d be suckers not to give us another season,” he said at the time. “I think the show is still terrific and it’s still really highly rated. Even with this season’s ratings having gone down, we’re still in the top 20 of all of television, maybe even higher. I would be stunned if they canceled us and they would be making a huge mistake because there’s still plenty more life in that show.”

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