Jussie Smollett: 'Empire' actor's contract extended, no plans for character to return

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Tuesday, April 30, 2019
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Jussie Smollett's contract with 20th Century Fox and Fox Entertainment has been extended, ABC News reported Tuesday.

CHICAGO -- Jussie Smollett's contract with 20th Century Fox and Fox Entertainment has been extended, ABC News reported Tuesday.

In a brief statement released jointly by the studios, they said "by mutual agreement, the studio has negotiated an extension" to Smollett's contract for seasons six of "Empire," but added "at this time there are no plans for the character of Jamal to return to 'Empire.'"

A spokesperson for Smollett issued a statement, saying, "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. Most importantly, he is grateful to Fox and 'Empire' leadership, cast, crew and fans for their unwavering support."

The TV actor claimed he was the victim of a vicious hate crime in the Streeterville neighborhood on January 29. He said two men physically attacked him while yelling racist and homophobic slurs, threw a chemical liquid on him and looped a rope around his neck.

WATCH: Timeline of key moments in Jussie Smollett case

Two days after the alleged attack, Chicago police released surveillance images of two people they said they considered persons of interest in the attack.

But the investigation turned on Smollett. He was accused of allegedly orchestrating the attack with the Osundairo brothers, who he knew. One brother was an extra on "Empire" and the other was Smollett's personal trainer.

Prosecutors said Smollett paid the brothers to pull off the staged attack.

Smollett had also reported a threatening letter sent to him on the "Empire" set containing a white powder, a week before the alleged attack. The letter is currently in the FBI crime lab for analysis, sources said, and experts believe Smollett could face federal charges for allegedly sending the letter.

All charges against Smollett were dropped in late February in exchange for community service and forfeiture of his $10,000 bond payment.

Smollett has maintained his innocence. The City of Chicago is suing the actor for the costs of the investigation and damage to the city's reputation.

RELATED: City sues Jussie Smollett for cost of investigating alleged staged attack

FULL STATEMENT FROM 20TH CENTURY FOX AND FOX ENTERTAINMENT

"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.'"

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