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Now That ‘Empire’s’ Jamal Lyon Tied The Knot, What is Jussie Smollett’s Future With The Show? Cast Sends Letter Of Support

Photo: FOX

Looks like the writers and producers of Empire found a way to write out the character of Jamal Lyon permanently, or leave the door open if decisions are made to keep actor/singer Jussie Smollett (Jamal) on the series following his trouble with the law in Chicago stemming from faking a hate crime.  A crime that he had all charges dropped against him which has been shrouded in controversy, and has been a lightning rod on social media and the news.

On Wednesday night’s Empire, Jamal married Kai (Toby Onwumere) with Chaka Khan performing at the nuptials in an emotional episode. Even with the momentous TV occasion to see two gay black men getting hitched on network television, it was unfortunately overshadowed by all the behind the scenes drama.  For this season, Wednesday marked final episode for Smollett, who was cut out of the upcoming final two episodes of the season.  In story, the characters are sure to be on their honeymoon, and they could eventually wind up living in Europe, which would keep Jamal off the canvas.

The Fox network and creative personnel at Empire will need to make a decision on Smollett’s future.  While Empire had not received its renewal pick-up, its fairly certain it will live on to see another season    Meanwhile, the cast of Empire penned a letter asking Fox to bring Jussie back to the series.

Photo Credit: HutchinsPhoto.com

Here is how it read:

Dear Charlie, Dana, Michael, Lee, Danny, Francie, Brian, Sanaa, Dennis, and Brett,

Together, as a united front, we stand with Jussie Smollett and ask that our co-star, brother and friend be brought back for our sixth season of Empire.

We understand the past months have been difficult to process—sometimes the headlines brought more confusion than clarity, yet we now have a conclusion to this ordeal. Throughout Empire’s five seasons working with Jussie and watching how he has conducted himself throughout this traumatic event, we have come to know not just the character Jussie portrays, but also truly come to know Jussie’s personal character. He is kind. He is compassionate. 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. We are confident in his lawyer’s assurance that the case was dismissed because it would not have prevailed.

Jussie has shown us on and off the set who he really is as a leader. In addition to being a caring friend and cast member who treats every crew member with love and respect, he has spent time with our families and individually supported each of us. These recent and detailed letters from The Black AIDS Institute, the Rainbow Push Coalition and the City Lights Orchestra shine a light on his commitment to true community service. Just a few months ago, Jussie partnered with the Trevor Project to provide support to their volunteer program that allows LGBTQ youth in crisis access to vital counseling services. Prior to that, he gave every cent from his sold out world tour to numerous charities. He has adopted a school in Chicago, taught songwriting to incarcerated youth at the Cook County Jail last year and bought the family of Kayden Kinckle, a six-year-old, double amputee, a wheelchair accessible van due to his school district not having a wheelchair accessible school bus. He has traveled to South Africa for service as well as to Jamaica to quietly meet about the safety of LGBTQ youth. This was all done without posturing, the need for attention or even discussion.

This is the Jussie we know.

It’s clearer every day that the extreme political climate in our country has only made our system of justice and the court of public opinion more unjust.

It is why now, more than ever, we must stand together as a family. A family is there for us in good times and bad. It can cut through the noise and confusion to understand that there is a person in the center of all this who deserves nothing more than to move forward with his life. We understand that this show is a business. And that business matters to us as well. We are confident our fans will welcome our “Jamal” back into the Empire family as enthusiastically as we will.

That is why we write today to ask you to keep Jussie on the cast so that we can all put this behind us and move forward. Thank you for taking time to hear us. It’s our hope that together we will move into our sixth season as the entire Empire family should.

SINCERELY,

Terrence Howard
Taraji P Henson
Bryshere Y. Gray
Trai Byers
Gabourey Sidibe
Nicole Ari Parker

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nancy dillinghamJamesj75ShayHarrysu000 Recent comment authors
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The Media whipped that whole mess into a public frenzy; Overkill..

I’ll sign the letter..

Jussie Smollett had All charges dropped against him.
This America, that is the way it is.
Jussie Smollett should 100% remain with Empire.

Jamesj75
Jamesj75

Okay, I didn’t speak up before, but I will do so now…

It is a shame that Smollett’s fellow cast members (and other supporters) are SO misguided. Smollett does not deserve any opportunity to return to his show, and other producers would be smart to avoid casting him ever again. This selfish punk is the one who stirred up a “public frenzy” by his own self-inflicted wounds, his own misguided actions. I happen to trust the police on this one. The evidence against Smollett is overwhelming. What caused the prosecutors to drop all charges against him is mystifying, but we have all seen miscarriages of justice before — O.J. anyone? Casey Anthony anyone?

To reiterate, Smollett first sent a threatening letter to himself. Then, with the help of two acquaintances, he staged a phony attack on himself, which was projected and sold as racial, homophobic hate crime. Other details are well documented. What Smollet did was an affront to African Americans, gays, and, well, decency!

Smollet’s actions were meant to evoke sympathy from the fans and producers of his show in hopes to expand his pocketbook and stardom. Well, he has certainly become notorious, but NOT in a good way!

Harry
Harry

James, I do agree and what is so detrimental is that his actions might cast doubt on real victims of hate crimes.

Jamesj75
Jamesj75

Thanks, Harry. And yes, the point you’re making is the most important and tragic consequence. Best to you, Harry!

Shay
Shay

Absolutely, James! Smollett’s repulsive and lawless attempt at self-promotion has managed to alienate and outrage decent people everywhere! I cannot think of any single incident in recent times which has so effectively coalesced such widespread disapproval, including that from normally disparate groups which tend to agree on very little else. The fact that even after this nearly-universal rebuke by the American public any individual could defend and continue to promote this remorseless and clearly guilty prevaricator really calls into question their own sense of what’s right and wrong. How one could excuse such inexcusable, and yes, criminal, behavior is truly beyond me. Perhaps it’s time for the entire “Empire” to go the way of ancient Rome, which also collapsed under its own weight of moral morass.

Jamesj75
Jamesj75

Thanks, Shay. The “nearly-universal rebuke” is staggering for this, as you rightly indicate, “criminal” behavior. I also enjoyed your linking of “Empire” to the fall of Rome!

And in case I am coming across as judgmental (though I know not to you, Shay), I have made more than my fair share of mistakes. And thankfully, I have apologized and tried to make amends for most of them. If only Smollett had attempted a modicum of self-awareness, remorse, and humility, it would have gone a long way to his redemption. Just as I have (sometimes) learned lessons when I have messed up, there are lessons to be learned from this fiasco. Best to you, Shay!

nancy dillingham
nancy dillingham

Why?

Empire

‘Empire’ Final Season: Official Word No Jussie Smollett, Vivica A Fox To Series Regular, Spin-Offs Possible After Series Concludes

Plenty of news coming out of the Fox TCA panels and executive session.  Most notable was drama surrounding the sixth and final season of the sudsy Empire.

According to Fox CEO Charlie Collier when talk of potential spin-offs of the series came up: “We’re in the Lee Daniels and Danny Strong business — if there is more story to tell we want to hear it.”  Collier, referencing the series creators.

Photo: JPI

Collier also noted that a big send-off is planned for the series as its heads to its final episodes.  In addition, the CEO officially revealed after all the speculation that Jussie Smollett (Ex-Jamal Lyon), would not be returning to Empire for its final season.

Charlie noted, “There’s no plan for Jussie to return.”  Smollett got in trouble with the law in Chicago back in January, over an alleged hate crime, the actor claimed was perpetrated on him, when later he was charged for setting the whole thing up himself, and later those charges later dropped,   But Jussie’s problems with the Windy City are continuing hot and heavy this week.

Finally, soap opera favorite, Vivica A. Fox (Generations, DAYS) has been upped to series regular in her role as Candace.  As Empire viewers know, Candace is the older sister to Cookie Lyon, played by Taraji P. Henson.

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So, would you like to see an Empire spin-off?  Happy or sad that Jussie Smollett is not coming back to the series before it says goodbye/ Looking forward to more Vivica? Comment below.

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Empire

Jussie Smollett Will Not Return To ‘Empire’ Relates Lee Daniels; 911 Call Released Of His Alleged Attack

The co-creator of Fox’s sudsy Empire, Lee Daniels, confirmed yesterday that actor/singer Jussie Smollett will not return to the series for its final season, after the renewal pick-up of the show’s sixth and final season was announced, where it left Smollett’s fate with the series a big ambiguous.

How the final blow of any possibility of Smollett’s return came to light was when Daniels was responding to a Variety report in which multiple production sources said that writing staff was breaking ideas for the final season with the expectation that Smollett would appear in the back half of the 18 planned episodes. However, Daniels strongly expressed upon that item that: “Jussie will NOT be returning to Empire.”

Smollett was written out of the final episodes of the show’s fifth season in the aftermath and backlash stemming from that he faked a hate crime against himself earlier this year in Chicago.

In addition on Wednesday, the city of Chicago (TMZ had already beat them to it) released 911 calls where a friend of Smollett’s called for help following his alleged attack.  A man (later identified as Smollett’s manager, Frank Gatson) said he “works with an artist” told the  operator that the victim did not want to file a report with authorities, but he was going to ‘make’ him.”

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The caller added that the victim said the attackers put a noose around his neck expressing: “What’s really weird ma’m, just ‘cus I’m scared and I don’t know what it is, they put a noose around his neck.  They didn’t do anything with it, but put it around his neck. That’s pretty f—d up to me — sorry for saying it like that.”

A second 911 call was apparently made 15 minutes later after the police had not yet responded to the first call, where the caller said about Smollett, “He was jumped on the street and we’re just trying to report it.”

So, what do you think of the news that Smollett is definitely out of the final season of Empire? What do you think of the 911 call? Share your thoughts via the comment section below.

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Breaking News

‘Empire’ Will End Its Run After Upcoming Sixth Season

Fox has announced during Monday’s pre-upfront call with the media that Empire’s upcoming sixth season (they just got renewed for that season just the other week) will ultimately be its last.

Fox Entertainment CEO Charlie Collier expressed: “We are turning the final season into a large TV event — we are trying to go out guns a-blazing. You allow fans to lean in and have the ending they deserve.”

The final season will consist of 20 episodes.

As to whether Jussie Smollett would coming back for the show’s last hurrah, Collier only would say, “At this point, we have no plans for that.”   He also noted the writer’s room has not even been put in place for the new season.

Previously, Fox Entertainment along with 20th Century Fox Television extended Smollett’s option for the upcoming sixth season, but at that time also stated there were no plan for him to re-appear on-screen as Jamal.

Smollett claimed that he was the victim of an assault based hate crime, but later was accused of hiring two men to attack him and was indicted for filing false police reports/statements.  Fast-forward, the criminal charges were dropped in March, and Smollett has maintained his innocence.

As a result of all the bad publicity cast on Smollett and more, the series decided to cut Smollett out of the final two episodes of the 5th season.

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So, sad to hear Empire will end after its next season, or do you think its time for the hip hop drama to go? Comment below.

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