After five seasons of drama, cliffhangers, flossing and lots of music, it looks like the Lyon family will be playing its own endgame as Fox announced Monday the sixth season of the popular show Empire will be its last.
But that still leaves fans wondering if embattled star Jussie Smollett will be invited to say one final goodbye to his castmates and viewers.
“We are turning the final season into a television event,” Fox Entertainment’s CEO Charlie Collier said, according to Variety. “One of the great benefits of announcing a final season announce have the fans lean in have the finale they desire.”‘
When questioned about if Smollett would be returning for the show’s finale, Collier said, “At this point, we have no plans for that.” But he also noted that “the writers room for next season hasn’t even gathered yet.”
Empire, brought to television by executive producer Lee Daniels, and starring Terrence Howard and Taraji P. Henson, had initially been a hit when it premiered in January 2015, with an average 12.97 million viewers at the end of its first season, according to Nielsen. But viewership declined significantly since that time with the fifth season garnering an average of 4.94 million. The show has been nominated for eight Emmy Awards.
During the fifth season, Smollett made international headlines after claiming that he was the victim of a racist and homophobic attack. But in a plot twist much like the story arcs on his show, the actor was then later accused of hiring two Nigerian-American men to attack him as part of a publicity stunt.
The controversy started a media storm over the alleged incident, which ultimately led to the actor being indicted on 16 felony counts by a grand jury for falsely reporting a hate crime.
Even though the 36 year old has always maintained his innocence and charges were dropped back in March, the City of Chicago still filed a lawsuit against him in order to recoup the cost of what they believe was an unnecessary police investigation. Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the Chicago Police Department expressed their anger publicly over the dropped charges.
In the midst of all the controversy surrounding the investigation, Smollett was written out of the final two episodes of Season 5. Fox Entertainment and 20th Century Fox Television have since confirmed that while they extended the actor’s option for Season 6, there are currently no plans for him to take part. His last appearance was in an episode where his character, Jamal Lyon got married to his partner.