Fox’s “Empire” reign is coming to an end.
The network announced on Monday that the previously announced sixth season of the hit musical drama would be the show’s last. It will return in the fall to its original Tuesday night time period for its final run of episodes.
The news came along with the rest of the network’s fall schedule, released on Monday ahead of Fox’s annual upfront presentation to advertisers.
“Season Six promises to be filled with drama, shocking surprises and more jaw-dropping moments,” the network said in a release. “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. Cookie (Taraji P. Henson) and Lucious (Terrence Howard), 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. As the series enters its final season, one thing is for sure, the Lyons never go out without a bang.”
Fox renewed “Empire” for a sixth season late last month, adding that there were “no plans” for Jussie Smollett or his character to return to the show following his indictment disorderly conduct charges after Chicago prosecutors accused him of staging a hate crime attack against himself.
“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 network said in a joint statement with studio 20th Century Fox TV at the time.
Smollett had previously been written out of the final few episodes of Season 5 after Chicago prosecutors charged him with multiple counts of filing a false police report, though those charges were later dropped as part of a deal requiring him to perform community service and forfeit $10,000 bond.
In an interview with TheWrap following the Season 5 finale, showrunner Brett Mahoney said no firm decision had been made regarding the possibility of Smollett returning at some point next season. “I think I just want what’s best for the show, so we’ll see what that is as we move forward,” he said.