Jussie Smollett's fate on the popular TV drama Empire is looking bleak.
One day prior to the show's season five finale, Fox Entertainment and 20th Century Fox Television confirmed that, while the show has been renewed for a sixth season, Smollett's character, Jamal Lyon, is unlikely to return.
In a statement issued to Variety, the companies credited the series' cast and crew for its success before addressing the elephant in the room: Will Smollett's character be included in the mix for the forthcoming season?
While the studio claimed that negotiations for the actor's return were already conducted, they revealed that there currently are "no plans" in place to bring him back for season six.
"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," they said in a statement.
Smollett's future on the series has reportedly remained in limbo over the past few months as he was accused of orchestrating his own hate crime in late January 2019. The accusation led to him being indicted on 16 counts for filing a false police report. All charges against the disgraced actor have since been dismissed. However, the City of Chicago is now suing him over the hefty costs of the investigation.
Due to the widespread scandal, Empire's showrunners ultimately decided to cut Smollett's character from the final two episodes of the current season.