'Empire' Ending After Season 6

'Empire' Ending After Season 6

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.

TV show "Empire" - which had starred Jussie Smollett until Chicago police accused the gay actor and singer of staging a fake hate crime against himself earlier this year - will end after next season, Variety reported.

When pressed on whether Smollet would return to the show, Collier replied vaguely that while there's an option for the embattled star to return, "we have no plans for that", adding that Empire's writers haven't begun sketching out the show's final season yet.

Collier says the network wants to give "Empire" a big send-off and that's the focus.

During the fifth season, Smollett made worldwide headlines after claiming that he was the victim of a racist and homophobic attack. The charges were dropped.

He also announced that the show is moving to Tuesdays for its final season, putting it up against juggernaut This Is Us.

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Smollett was one of the main stars of the show before being axed, and the actor expressed hope that he would be able to rejoin the show.

The cancellation of Empire follows Friday's axing of co-creator Lee Daniels' musical drama Star after three seasons.

Collier said to journalists that "there is an option" to have him back for the sixth season, but at the moment, there aren't any plans for such an endeavor. The ensuing friction might be one reason that Fox is less than enthusiastic about dealing with Empire for more than one more season regardless which way they go on Smollett. Asked about whether that has changed, now that Empire will be ending after the next season, Collier remained mum. However, it looks like those efforts were made in vain.

On the sports side of the spectrum, Fox Sports CEO and Executive Producer Eric Shanks said that conversations with likely Super Bowl LIV advertisers are already underway. Even the Kleenex brigades who watch the NBC show might tune in for a peek at how they bring back Smollett's character.

While Fox's programming team wants to assure advertisers that it has in no way junked its scripted series development, the network's increased emphasis on live sports has made it more hard for new projects to crack its primetime lineup. Get ready for that November sweeps season!

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