Fans of “Empire” will have to say goodbye very soon as it’s been revealed the Fox Entertainment TV series will be canceled after Season 6. According to reports, the development is not unconnected to actor Jussie Smollett’s recent alleged hate crime hoax.
“Empire,” the hit hip-hop drama series that premiered in 2015, will be off our TV screens next year, according to a report by Deadline. Charlie Collier, the CEO of Fox Entertainment, reportedly made the announcement on Monday during Fox’s pre-upfront call.
“We are turning the final season into a large TV event — we are trying to go out guns a-blazing,” he said of the show’s sixth and final 20-episode season. “You allow fans to lean in and have the ending they deserve.”
Collier also remained diplomatic when asked about the future of embattled actor Smollett in the show’s final season, but noted that writing for Season 6 had not even begun yet.
“There’s an option to have Jussie [Smollett] in the series, but we have no plans for that,” he stated.
Besides news of the cancellation, “Empire,” which is created by Lee Daniels and Danny Strong, has also been moved to a Tuesday 9 pm time slot which pits it against NBC’s fan-favorite, “This Is Us.”
The charges have since been controversially dropped but several notable figures ...are still challenging the alleged injustice
These developments come less than a week after “Empire” wrapped up its fifth season and two weeks after Fox renewed the show for a sixth season.
Per Deadline, some of the issues that contributed to the show’s demise include lower ratings and the unending controversy surrounding Smollett, the openly gay, black actor who plays Jamal Lyon on “Empire.”
Smollett claimed earlier this year that he was the victim of a racist and homophobic attack, but not long after, the Chicago PD arrested the actor, accusing him of staging the assault to get a pay raise on “Empire.”
The uproar saw Smollett written off “Empire” and not even a letter from his co-stars advocating for his character’s return, could bring him back.
Meanwhile, “Star,” another Fox series co-created by Daniels and starring Queen Latifah and Brandy among others, has also been canceled after three seasons.