‘Empire’ cancelled, Season 6 of the show will be its last

Empire Renewed Cancelled

Fox previously announced that Empire, the popular series saddled with a lot of unwanted headlines in the last couple months before of controversy swirling around one (technically former) star, was returning for a sixth season this coming year.

During the network's Upfronts conference call on Monday morning, Fox executives reiterated that while actor Jussie Smollett's contract has been renewed through next season, there are "no plans" at this time for the character of Jamal to return to Empire. The actor told Chicago police in January that he had been attacked by two individuals who yelled racist and homophobic slurs, but authorities later said Smollett had staged the attack. He maintained his innocence and the 16 charges against him were ultimately dropped. Some of Smollett's co-stars have lamented his uncertain fate on the show. And there's this: according Charlie Collier, head of FOX Entertainment, they're planning on the final season going out in style; the network envisions a "large TV event" in an attempt to go out with "guns blazing", reports TMZ.

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We looked at our priorities and were trying to prioritize giving Empire the send-off it deserves. "So it is with a start-up mindset and, upon an incredible foundation of assets, that we deliver our first slate of new comedies, dramas and unscripted series", Collier said in a statement.

But that still leaves fans wondering if embattled star Jussie Smollett will be invited to say one final goodbye to his castmates and viewers. No major surprises, aside from The Orville and Last Man Standing getting 2020 premiere dates and Empire moving to a new night.

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NPR's Eric Deggans noted that the decision to end the drama, along with several other canceled shows - including "Rel", "Lethal Weapon", "The Cool Kids" and "Star" (another musical drama produced by "Empire" co-creator Lee Daniels) - would leave the network without a "showcase" for black actors. "I think I just want what's best for the show, so we'll see what that is as we move forward", he said. Fox confirmed the series will end after Season 6 at the Fox Upfronts on May 13, 2019.

As Variety notes, Collier was asked if the news means Smollett's character, Jamal, will return for a final farewell.

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