The record will keep spinning for ‘Empire.’
FOX has renewed the popular musical drama for a sixth season. The announcement, made Tuesday evening, should have been obvious, considering the show’s performance, but it did contain a significant caveat: star Jussie Smollett and his character, Jamal Lyon, are not set 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,'” FOX and producer 20th Century Fox TV announced in a statement. Smollett, who was arrested for filing a false police report regarding an alleged hate crime, remains under contract nonetheless.
The series follows Lucious Lyon (Terrence Howard) as he attempts to negotiate who will succeed him at the head of his company, Empire Entertainment. The search begins following his diagnosis with ALS, and among those vying for his throne are his wife, Cookie Lyon (Taraji P. Henson), and his sons, Jamal (Smollett), Hakeem (Bryshere Y. Gray), and Andre (Trai Byers).
‘Empire’ is a massive breadwinner for FOX. The series ranks only behind ‘The Masked Singer’ and ‘9-1-1,’ picking up a 1.36 L+SD average rating among adults 18-49 this season. Even with its recent controversies, this empire is unlikely to fall anytime soon.