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'Empire': Lee Daniels says Jussie Smollett won't return in Season 6

By
Annie Martin
Jussie Smollett won't reprise Jamal Lyon in the sixth and final season of Empire. File Photo by Christine Chew/UPI
Jussie Smollett won't reprise Jamal Lyon in the sixth and final season of "Empire." File Photo by Christine Chew/UPI | License Photo

June 5 (UPI) -- Empire star Jussie Smollett won't return in Season 6.

Series co-creator Lee Daniels denied Tuesday the 36-year-old actor will reprise Jamal Lyon in the sixth and final season of the Fox series.

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Daniels spoke out on Twitter following reports Smollett will appear in the new season.

"This is not factual. Jussie will NOT be returning to Empire," he wrote.

Variety said Tuesday the Empire writing staff was proposing ideas for Season 6 with the expectation Smollett would return.

Smollett said in January he was the victim of a racist and homophobic attack, but was later accused of staging the crime. Prosecutors ultimately dropped the case, but Smollett faced heavy backlash and was written out of the final episodes of Season 5.

Smollett's contract was extended to Season 6 but there were "no plans" to bring the actor back, Fox confirmed in April. The network announced Season 6 will be the show's last.

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"There's an option to have Jussie in the series but we have no plans for that," Fox Entertainment CEO Charlie Collier reiterated at the time.

Empire was created by Daniels and Danny Strong. The series stars Terrence Howard, Taraji P. Henson, Bryshere Y. Gray and Trai Byers.

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