As we prepare to say goodbye to childhood sweethearts Cookie (Taraji P. Henson) and Lucious Lyon (Terrence Howard), along with their devoted, volatile, passionate and twisted love/hate relationship, Fox presents the sixth and final season of “Empire,” premiering Tuesday, March 3 at 9 p.m.
In an intriguing development, Fox recently announced that the show’s final season will be split into two halves.
Created by Philadelphia native and Academy Award nominee Lee Daniels, director of “Precious” and Lee Daniels’ “The Butler,” along with Emmy Award winner Danny Strong and Academy Award and Emmy Award winning producer Brian Grazer, “Empire,” which debuted in 2015, is a provocative drama about the Lyons, a family dynasty, set within a world of music, glamour, danger and power.
In April 2019, upon renewing “Empire” for its sixth season, Michael Thorn, president/entertainment for Fox Entertainment said,” “’Empire’ continues to break barriers with its emotionally powerful storytelling, and it remains a core part of the Fox legacy. We want to thank everyone on the show — Taraji, Terrence and the entire cast, as well as (executive producers) Lee (Daniels), Danny (Strong), Brett (Mahoney), Sanaa (Hamri), Brian (Grazer), Francie (Calfo), Dennis (Hammer) and their teams — all of whom have done a tremendous job this season. We know there are so many more stories to tell, and we can’t wait to see what they have in store for Season Six.”
As the countdown to the series finale begins, the network states that in the spring premiere titled “Can’t Truss ‘Em,” the Lyon family’s world is turned upside down as they face a loss, which forces one Lyon to deal with an unresolved trauma from the past.
Meanwhile, Andre (Trai Byers) makes an important decision about his health, family and career, and Devon (Mario) confronts Tiana (Serayah McNeill) abut her relationship with Hakeem (Philly native Bryshere “Yazz” Gray). Also, a shocking revelation about the future of the Lyons family is revealed.
The captivating series has been steeped in controversy, and last season, it was reported that actor Jussie Smollett (Jamal Lyon), who was arrested on multiple felony charges over an alleged racist and homophobic attack in Chicago, would not appear in the last two episodes of the season.
In a statement published in The Hollywood Reporter, “Empire” executive producers Lee Daniels, Danny Strong, Brett Mahoney, Brian Grazer, Sanaa Hamri, Francie Calfo and Dennis Hammer said, “The events of the past few weeks have been incredibly emotional for all of us. Jussie has been an important member of our ‘Empire’ family for the past five years and we care about him deeply. While these allegations are very disturbing, we are placing our trust in the legal system as the process plays out. We are also aware of the effects of this process on the cast and crew members who work on our show and to avoid further disruption on the set, we have decided to remove the role of Jamal from the final two episodes of the season.”
On Monday, Smollett pleaded not guilty to new charges alleging that he lied to police about being the victim of the attack in Chicago last year, and Fox’s Thorn reportedly told “TV Line” that Smollett would not reprise his role after being written out of the show.
“We’re not going to bring Jussie back to the show,” Thorn said. “There were a number of factors that went into the decision to not bring him back. There were many points of view about if he should come back or if he shouldn’t. As hard as a decision as that was, for us ... it felt like it was in the best interests of the show and the cast.”
From familiar favorites to legendary icons, “Empire” has provided a high-profile platform for a cavalcade of African-American actors, including Malik Yoba, Raven-Symone, Vivica A. Fox, Tasha Smith, Patti LaBelle, Leslie Uggams, Taye Diggs and Academy Award-winner Forest Whitaker.
The critically-acclaimed series has garnered multiple Emmy Awards and Golden Globe nominations. For her role as the courageous, campy and often comical “Cookie Lyon,” Oscar-nominee Henson has received two Emmy nominations for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series and won the Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series — Drama in 2016.