Fox's 'Empire' will end after Season 6, no plans for Jussie Smollett to return


Fox will soon stop the music on its drama "Empire." 

The upcoming sixth season of the show that focuses on a New York hip-hop and entertainment company will be its final one, the network announced Monday.

"Season Six promises to be filled with drama, shocking surprises and more jaw-dropping moments," Fox said in a release Monday. "The award-winning drama about a family dynasty set within the glamorous and sometimes dangerous world of hip-hop music has generated chart-topping hits, and socially relevant storylines, introduced 'Boo Boo Kitty' into the zeitgeist and delivered over-the-top OMG moments weekly."

Terrence Howard stars as Lucious Lyon, the CEO of Empire Entertainment, and Taraji P. Henson plays his ex-wife Cookie Lyon.

"Cookie and Lucious, the two larger-than-life characters at the center of the series, have taken viewers through the highs and lows that come with fame and fortune," Fox stated. "As the series enters its final season, one thing is for sure, the Lyons never go out without a bang."

Ratings for the show dropped drastically over the years. "Empire" debuted in 2015 and averaged about 17 million viewers in that first season. Season 5, which just ended last Wednesday, only pulled in an average of 4 million viewers.

Real-life drama and scandal involving one of the series regulars also coincided with Season 5. Jussie Smollett, who plays Jamal Lyon, the middle son of Lucious and Cookie, was indicted on Feb. 20 on a felony count involving an alleged hate hoax. The actor had claimed that he was jumped by two men outside his Chicago apartment and that they shouted racist and homophobic slurs at him. But two brothers seen in surveillance video, Olabingo (Ola) Osundairo and Abimbola (Abel) Osundairo, reportedly told police that Smollett paid them to stage the "attack."

Smollett, 36, was eventually charged with 16 felony counts related to filing a false police report, but all charges were dropped in March in a surprise move. The FBI is currently reviewing the circumstances surrounding the dismissal of the charges.

The network left it unclear whether Smollet would return for Season 6. "By mutual agreement, the studio has negotiated an extension to Jussie Smollett's option for Season 6, but at this time there are no plans for the character of Jamal to return to 'Empire,'" Fox Entertainment and 20th Century Fox TV said in a joint statement at the time of the renewal.

Jamal got married in the April 24 episode, marking TV's first black, gay wedding, but the character was written out of the season's last two episodes following the Smollett scandal.

Rounding out the main cast are Bryshere Y. Gray and Trai Byers, who respectively play Jamal's brothers Hakeem Lyon and Andre Lyon. The show's 100th episode will fall within Season 6.