Empire is set to come to an end after its upcoming sixth season, it has been confirmed.
The show, which debuted in January 2015 and stars the likes of Terrence Howard and Taraji P. Henson, ended its fifth season last week. That run of episodes, however, largely played out against the backdrop of the February arrest of one of its stars Jussie Smollett, who was accused by police of staging a racially-motivated and homophobic attack back in January. Smollett always vehemently denied staging the attack, and all of the charges against him were dropped by prosecutors in March.
Fox Entertainment CEO Charlie Collier has now confirmed that Empire will end after its forthcoming sixth season, which will debut later this year.
“We are trying to go out guns a-blazing,” Collier told EW. “One of the great benefits of announcing the final season is that it actually allows fans to lean in and have the ending they deserve. Six years is a remarkable run.”
Asked if Smollett, whose Empire contract has been extended to season six, could make a farewell appearance, Collier said that they have the option of casting him – but, as an April statement from Fox already stated, “there are no plans at this point” to bring the actor back.
Smollett’s character Jamal Lyon was removed from the final two episodes of season five of Empire following the news of his arrest in February.
Last month, Taraji P. Henson claimed that Smollett will return in season six of Empire – saying that she “hadn’t heard anything” to the contrary.