Renewed: Empire

US music drama Empire has been renewed for a sixth season by FOX -but there are no plans for Jussie Smollett to return.

“By mutual agreement, the studio has negotiated an extension to Jussie Smollett’s option for season six, but at this time there are no plans for the character of Jamal to return to Empire, the studio said in a statement.

This comes despite the network previously backing the actor and cast pleading with producers for him to remain.

A spokesperson for Smollett told The New York Post, “We’ve been told that Jussie will not be on Empire in the beginning of the season, but he appreciates they have extended his contract to keep Jamal’s future open. Most importantly, he is grateful to FOX and Empire leadership, cast, crew and fans for their unwavering support.”

That means the actor could effectively be “warehoused” while the fall-out of his police case continues.

US authorities are still investigating a threatening letter sent to Smollett, days before his alleged attack, which saw charges against him dropped.

Empire airs in Australia on FOX8.

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