For has announced a sixth season renewal for serialized drama “Empire.” Debuting on January 7, 2015, 84 episodes in total will be in the can upon the season finale on May 8. Mirroring seasons two through five, an expected 18 new episodes are expected.
The series centers around a hip hop music and Entertainment Company, Empire Entertainment, and the drama among the members of the founders’ family as they fight for control of the company
Not expected to return is Jussie Smollett, whose future on the show remains less clear. While Fox made no mention of Smollett in its announcement, it appears there are “no plans” to bring his character, Jamal Lyon, back at this time.
“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 said in a joint 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,” Smollett’s personal rep said in a statement. “Most importantly he is grateful to Fox and ‘Empire’ leadership, cast, crew and fans for their unwavering support!”