While it has not yet been revealed whether or not the series will be renewed for a sixth season, Wednesday night's airing of the show did not garner high ratings (April 24). The episode in question is the final episode fans will see Jussie Smollett's character Jamal Lyons appear in this season. The show has two more episodes left until its fifth season wraps.
As reported by Variety, the final episode of season five posted low figures for the series despite seeing an increase from previous weeks. The episode, during which Smollett's character got married in television's first-ever Black, gay wedding, returned a 1.1 rating in the 18-49 age demo and garnered 3.8 million total viewers. Per Variety, the overall ratings are down for the season's average, which currently is at around 1.4.
The show's co-creators previously decided to write off the character in the wake of the alleged fake hate crime debacle that has been making national headlines since the end of January. The actor, who was arrested for allegedly filing a false police report, had all 16 of the outstanding charges against him dropped last month. He is currently facing a lawsuit from the city of Chicago for investigative costs.
Recently, the show's co-creator Lee Daniels spoke about how it has been a trying time for the cast following the controversial case.
"What I am learning right now is that I can't judge," the acclaimed director explained, offering supportive words and noting that the cast is slowly healing. "That that judgment is for that man wearing that black coat with a gavel and God. I can only support him because he is like my son, he is my son, so I am with him. I can only support him and I can only give him compassion."
In addition, fellow cast members, including leads Taraji P. Henson and Terrence Howard, joined forces to pen a letter of support on Smollett's behalf, demanding that he be kept on the show for potential seasons to come.
"[Smollett] is kind. He is compassionate," the letter reads. "He is honest and above all he is filled with integrity. He is also innocent and no longer subject to legal uncertainty with the criminal charges against him having been dropped."
At the time of this report, there is no word whether the Fox show will be renewed, nor has a decision been revealed whether Smollett will reprise his original role if so.