Jussie Smollett made headlines last year after reports surfaced that he’d been attacked in Chicago and then made more headlines after the attack was reported as being staged. As a result, he was written off the hit Fox show Empire, which tells the story of the Lyon family. Now, definitive word has come down as to whether or not Smollett will be returning for the show’s final episodes.
Jussie Smollett Off Empire To The End
TV Line reports from the TV Critics Association Press Tour in Pasadena, Calif. that, according to Fox, Smollett will not reprise his character of Jamal Lyon on Empire.
“We’re not going to bring Jussie back to the show,” Fox entertainment president Michael Thorn said. “There were a number of factors that went into the decision to not bring him back. There were many points of view about if he should come back or if he shouldn’t. As hard as a decision as that was, for us — and when I say ‘us’ I mean the network, the studio, and the producers — it felt like it was in the best interests of the show and the cast.”
Thorn is hoping that the focus is kept on Empire, the show, and not any off-screen drama. Empire, set in the music industry, debuted on January 7, 2015, to nearly 10 million viewers. The show was created by Lee Daniels and Danny Strong. The show’s breakout character was Cookie, played by Taraji P. Henson.
The pilot was a success, garnering praise for Henson’s portrayal of family matriarch Cookie Lyon. The series premiered on January 7, 2015, to nearly 10 million viewers while the first-season finale was watched by 17 million viewers.
The show got a new showrunner for Season 2, giving the show a different feel. It remained popular with fans, propelling the delicious primetime soap to six seasons but it was announced late last spring that Season 6 would be Empire’s last.