If “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett is guilty of perpetrating a fraud of a beatdown, he may not only go to prison and be out of a skyrocketing Hollywood career, but he may drastically impact the pockets of the entire “Empire” cast and crew.
That’s because “Empire,” which set the nation on fire when it first emerged on Fox TV five years ago, may not get renewed. Some folks on the set are very concerned that the “Empire” show may not be able to survive this scandal and that the show may get canceled altogether.
“Empire” was already slipping in the ratings long before the Smollett debacle, but Smollett’s 16-count felony indictment puts the show in a precarious position, TMZ reports. While it still retains a respectable 5-6 million viewership, that is far from the 15 million viewers it had during season 1 that had every Hollywood celebrity and their mother wanting to do guest roles on the show.
This is why anxiety is high and morale is low on the “Empire” set on the eve of the airing of its fifth season. Fox has not made any announcement about its renewal and it’s already mid-March. In previous years, Fox made the announcement about keeping the show going in January of every year.
Some on the set who have been employed throughout the history of the show complained recently they haven’t been told anything as of yet.
Keep in mind that Fox waited until a few weeks before the season 4 finale was set to air in May, to announce that “Empire” would come back for a fifth season.
Folks involved in the production told TMZ believe that Smollett’s sensational scandal is playing a big role in Fox’s eventual decision to keep or throw away the show.
As for now, TMZ said “Empire” creator Lee Daniels and other decision-makers, decided that Smollett’s character is being removed from the final two episodes of season 5, which is set to return from a hiatus on Wednesday night. For the interim period, until producers and Fox decide what to do with Smollett’s character, they will just say that Jamal Lyons is “out of the country.”
To no one’s surprise, Smollett’s character may not return from “out of the country.” Smollett has been a lightning rod of controversy and division since his scandal erupted nearly two months ago. There are many people who don’t want Smollett back on the show — even the folks who have publicly expressed support for him.