The Lyon family will be returning to television one son short next fall.
Smollett was indicted for allegedly fabricating a racist and homophobic hate crime in which he was the victim. Charges in the case have since been dropped, but the case has caused significant damage to his personal and professional reputation.
The companies issued a joint statement calling the decision for Smollett not to return “mutual.”
“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,” read the statement.
The extension of Smollett’s contract means the network has the option to bring him back to the hit Fox series later if they wish to do so.
A spokesperson for Smollett shared the actor’s reaction to the decision in a statement.
“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,” they explained.
Smollett’s spokesperson also shared his gratitude to the cast members who stood by him. Taraji P. Henson, Terrence Howard, and other cast members issued an open letter to the network and fans earlier this year, insisting that Smollett be permitted to resume the role of Jamal in season six.
“Most importantly he is grateful to Fox and Empire leadership, cast, crew and fans for their unwavering support,” the statement continued.