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As for the Fox entertainment offerings, Ad Sales President Marianne Gambelli and her team are expected to start seeing client budgets dropping in after Memorial Day Weekend, whereupon the annual selloff can begin in earnest.

As was previously announced, Fox Entertainment and 20th Century Fox Television have extended Smollett's option for Season 6, but said at the time of the renewal that there were no plans for him to appear. Chief among these is "Empire", which will call it quits in 2020 after a six-season run.

At the end of the season, Smollett's character, Jamal, the middle brother of the Lyon family at the center of the show, was said to be on his honeymoon with his new husband.

Fox actually axed a number of its current series, including the Empire spinoff Star. "The move [of Empire] to 9pm, made it a challenge because Star was always the lead-out from Empire and obviously we don't have the 10pm hour, so it was another tough choice in a year where we were prioritizing Empire and obviously some of the other shows that we've put on the schedule". But will the network bring back the show's most well-known actor for a reprise? "One of the benefits of announcing a final season is you allow fans to lean in and have the ending they deserve".

Smollett was accused of staging a racist, anti-gay attack against himself in Chicago. He maintained his innocence and the 16 charges against him were ultimately dropped.

"We are turning the final season into a television event", Fox Entertainment CEO Charlie Collier said, according the magazine, adding that there are "no plans" for Smollett return for the show's sixth and final season.

The cast might have a word or two to say about the idea.

Empire premiered in 2015 and quickly became a pop culture sensation; that first season averaged 17 million viewers for Fox.

Once a guaranteed ratings blockbuster for Fox, Empire's most recent season was dogged by low viewing figures, as well as Smollett's controversy.


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