'Empire' to end after upcoming season, Fox announces

The news comes after actor Jussie Smollett claimed he was the victim of a bias attack, but was later charged with hiring the men behind the assault.
Image: Empire
Jussie Smollett, left, Bryshere Y. Gray, Terrence Howard, Taraji P. Henson and Trai Byers in EMPIRE.Matt Dinerstein / FOX

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By Variety

The "Empire" has fallen.

Fox announced Monday that music drama "Empire's" recently announced sixth season will be the show's last.

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"We are turning the final season into a television event," Fox Entertainment CEO Charlie Collier said. "One of the great benefits of announcing a final season announce have the fans lean in have the finale they desire."

When pressed on whether Jussie Smollett would be returning for the show's final season, Collier said, "At this point, we have no plans for that." But Collier also noted that "the writers room for next season hasn't even gathered yet."

As was previously announced, Fox Entertainment and 20th Century Fox Television have extended Smollett's option for Season 6, but said at the time of the renewal that there were no plans for him to appear.

During the fifth season, Smollett claimed that he was the victim of an assault which he said was racially and politically motivated, as well as homophobic. Later he was accused of hiring the men who attacked him and indicted for filing false statements. The criminal charges were dropped in March, and Smollett has maintained his innocence, but the city of Chicago also filed a lawsuit against the actor in order to recoup the cost of the police investigation. As a result of the controversy surrounding the investigation, Smollett was written out of the final two episodes of Season 5.

"Empire" was created by Lee Daniels and Danny Strong, who executive produce alongside Brian Grazer, Francie Calfo, Sanaa Hamri, Dennis Hammer, Matt Pyken and Diane Ademu-John. Brett Mahoney is executive producer and showrunner for the series. The show is produced by Imagine Television in association with 20th Century Fox Television.

Companion series "Star" was also recently canceled after three seasons.