'NO PLANS': Jussie Smollett will not return to 'Empire' next season

FOX's Empire

Empire renewed for season 6 with 'no plans' for Jussie Smollett to return

Jussie Smollett is unlikely to be reprising his role in the sixth season of the Fox TV series Empire. "He is also innocent and no longer subject to legal uncertainty with the criminal charges against him having been dropped".

Twentieth Century Fox Television and Fox Entertainment said in a statement Tuesday that the studio had extended the actor's option "by mutual agreement", leaving the door open for him to return at some point.

Smollett was indicted on 16 felony counts for allegedly filing a false police report, claiming he was the victim of a racist and homophobic attack.

The Fox show has been renewed for a sixth season but producers have revealed that the 36-year-old actor - who stars as Jamal Lyon in the hit series - will probably not be reappearing on the programme but he has had his contract extended to keep the future of his character open.

"Empire" will return to Fox in the fall, but one of its most famous cast members will likely not be joining for the new season.

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In the letter, the cast vouched for Smollett's character and reaffirmed his place in the Empire family.

U.S. television actor Jussie Smollett.

Smollett's character was written out of the final two episodes of season five earlier this year after the Chicago Police Department said he lied about being attacked January 29.

Now, with news that the show itself will return for season six, Fox has issued a statement to E!

According to TMZ, Fox has negotiated to extend Smollett's contract for the season, despite the fact that he will not appear in a single episode moving forward.

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"Empire continues to break barriers with its emotionally powerful storytelling, and it remains a core part of the Fox legacy", said Michael Thorn, President, Fox Entertainment in a statement.

Empire films each episode in Chicago.

City officials sued the actor for $130,000 in the wake of the dropped charges, seeking reimbursement for funds spent investigating what they called bogus hate crime allegations.

Despite offscreen drama, Empire Season 6 is a go!

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