‘Empire’ to end with season 6 on FOX

L-R Taraji P. Henson and Terrence Howard in the

After renewingEmpire for Season 6, the network announced on Monday morning that the upcoming sixth season of Lee Daniels' drama series will indeed be its last. (Smollett and his attorneys have continued to maintain he was the victim of an attack.) Collier said that "there's an option to have Jussie in the series" during the sixth season "but we have no plans for that".

But police arrested Smollett in February, accusing him of staging the entire thing and paying two black men to help him pull it off.

In March, he was indicted on 16 felony counts, to which he pleaded not guilty, however all charges against the actor were later dropped.

He also announced that the show is moving to Tuesdays for its final season, putting it up against juggernaut This Is Us. "The move [of Empire] to 9pm, made it a challenge because Star was always the lead-out from Empire and obviously we don't have the 10pm hour, so it was another tough choice in a year where we were prioritizing Empire and obviously some of the other shows that we've put on the schedule".

Pressed to give a more direct answer to the Smollett situation, Collier echoed what was said back in April: "There is an option [for him to return]".

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"We're excited to see the show go out with a bang and that's really what we've been focused on and what's been great with all these early season conversations".

"We are trying to go out guns a-blazing".

Since last season, Empire has lost approximately half of its viewing audience, most likely due in part to the Smollett fracas.

Martin Jr. will leave the decision on whether to assign a special prosecutor to investigate Kim Foxx's handling of "Empire" star Jussie Smollett's case to the presiding judge instead; Matt Finn reports from Chicago.

Jussie Smollett's future on "Empire" remains in limbo. Taraji P. Henson and Terrence Howard, along with several other cast members, recently penned a joint letter urging the network to bring Smollett back for Season 6.

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