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Fox confirms Jussie Smollett will not return for new season of “Empire”

The media company said that “there are no plans for the character of Jamal to return to ‘Empire.’”

Jussie Smollett // Instagram

After much speculation regarding the fate of Fox Entertainment's hit show "Empire," the music industry drama has officially been renewed for a sixth season.

However, at this time, the network has noted that there are "no plans" for Jussie Smollett, who played Jamal Lyon, to be returning to the show presumably due to the controversy that continues to surround him.

"By mutual agreement, the studio has negotiated an extension to Jussie Smollett's option for season six, but at this time there are no plans for the character of Jamal to return to 'Empire,'" Fox Entertainment and 20th Century Fox TV issued in a statement on Tuesday (April 30).

Additionally, a spokesperson for Smollett also shared with Fox News: "We've been told that Jussie will not be on Empire in the beginning of the season but he appreciates they have extended his contract to keep Jamal's future open. Most importantly he is grateful to Fox and Empire leadership, cast, crew and fans for their unwavering support."

In related news, the actor, who had 16 felony disorderly conduct charges against him dropped for his alleged role in a hate crime scandal earlier this year, is reportedly disinterested in returning to Chicago for upcoming proceedings.

As reported by the Chicago Sun Times, Smollett has moved out of his apartment in the city and doesn't want to return for a hearing Thursday (May 2). His attorneys reportedly filed a motion on Wednesday (May 1) that seeks to allow him not to appear at the hearing as previously requested by former State Appeals Court Judge Sheila O'Brien.

According to their report, his lawyers have already filed motions in the case opposing the appointment of a special prosecutor to probe how and why the Cook County state's attorney's office reached the decision to dismiss all charges.

"To ensure his safety and security, Mr. Smollett immediately moved out of his apartment in Chicago," the motion reads. "As of March 27, 2019, Mr. Smollett has returned to California and he does not maintain a residence in Chicago." The motion also notes how if he does have to return, he would have to take on "additional security measures."

O'Brien has reportedly asked that a special prosecutor from outside of Cook County investigate how Kim Foxx's office handled the decision to dismiss all charges.

Additionally, Smollett is facing a lawsuit filed by the city of Chicago. He is being sued for the cost of investigating his allegedly false police report and has thus far refused to reimburse the city.

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