‘Empire’ discussing bringing back Jussie Smollett for final season
The team behind “Empire” is in discussions on bringing back Jussie Smollett for the final episodes of the Fox series.
“It would be weird in my mind to end this family show and this family drama of which he was such a significant part of without seeing him,” Brett Mahoney, showrunner for “Empire,” told TVLine in an interview published Tuesday. “It’s fair to say it’s being discussed,” Mahoney added, “but there’s no plan as of yet to bring him back. There’s been no decision made.”
Smollett was cut from the last two episodes of the drama’s fifth season in February in the wake of his arrest for allegedly faking a hate crime against himself. The performer had played Jamal Lyon, one of the lead roles on the series.
The 37-year-old actor had claimed to Chicago police in January that two men beat him, tied a rope around his neck and poured an unknown chemical substance on him. Smollett said the alleged assailants shouted the pro-Trump phrase, “This is MAGA country!” as part of a racist and homophobic attack.
Chicago authorities later said in a news conference that Smollett’s claims were false, a publicity stunt aimed at boosting his “Empire” salary.
President Trump, who had initially called the alleged attack “horrible,” later slammed Smollett, writing on Twitter to the actor, “What about MAGA and the tens of millions of people you insulted with your racist and dangerous comments!?”
The city of Chicago later filed a lawsuit against Smollett, saying in court that he owes more than $130,000 to compensate it for the cost of police overtime involving the investigation into the alleged incident. One of Smollett’s lawyers, William Quinlan, told The Hill in October in response to the lawsuit that the actor “has always maintained his innocence and is eager to have the complete facts of the case come out.”
Fox announced in April that “Empire’s” sixth season, wrapping up in the spring, would be its last.
Fox Entertainment and 20th Century Fox Television declined ITK’s request for comment on Mahoney’s remarks on Wednesday.
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