The producers of the Fox drama “Empire” announced Friday that Jussie Smollett’s character would not appear in the final two episodes of the show’s fifth season. The announcement came a day after Chicago police arrested him and said he staged an attack against himself in a bid for publicity.
Following his arrest and release on bail, Mr. Smollett had returned to the set of “Empire” and started filming scenes as his character Jamal Lyon, raising questions of how Fox would handle his presence going forward.
[Latest update — For Jussie Smollett, how a life of arts and activism is upended.]
“While these allegations are very disturbing, we are placing our trust in the legal system as the process plays out,” the producers said in a statement. “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 set, we have decided to remove the role of ‘Jamal’ from the final two episodes of the season.”
Mr. Smollett’s arrest — and his recent loss of support from many public figures who spoke out in favor of him after the attack last month — put Fox in an extremely awkward position.
[Read more about his arrest on Thursday.]
There are two more episodes left to shoot over the next month for the show’s fifth season. Fox has been a staunch supporter of Mr. Smollett’s for weeks, releasing a statement as recently as Wednesday saying that he was the “consummate professional” and denying he would be written out of the show. Likewise in their statement on Friday, the producers said, “Jussie has been an important member of our ‘Empire’ family for the past five years and we care about him deeply.”
But with Mr. Smollett’s arrest — and the Chicago police claiming they have key evidence to demonstrate he staged the attack — the “Empire” set was on the verge of turning into a circus. After Mr. Smollett posted bail, he was trailed by news helicopters as he returned to the “Empire” set. He did not return to the “Empire” set on Friday.
The move to cut him out of the final two episodes this season essentially buys Fox and producers of “Empire” some time to decide what to ultimately do with his character.
Fox has until mid-May to decide if it even wants to keep “Empire” on the air, though there are reasons to do that. The show is its second-highest-rated drama and it has a shrinking but passionate fan base.
If the series is renewed, Fox has until the end of June to decide if it wants to pick up actors’ contracts, which would include Mr. Smollett’s. Filming would not begin again until later in July or August.
There are several corporate changes that may determine Mr. Smollett’s fate as well.
In a matter of weeks, 20th Century Fox Television, the studio that produces “Empire,” will be folded into The Walt Disney Company after Disney closes on its purchase of many of Fox’s entertainment properties. Suddenly Disney’s opinions of Mr. Smollett will become a vital part of the calculus.
Likewise, the Fox broadcast network, which is not part of the sale and will still be owned by the Murdoch family, has a new set of leaders that will guide a different path for the network. It will be up to those leaders, led by the Fox Entertainment chief executive Charlie Collier, to decide whether they want “Empire” on the air and if they want to include Mr. Smollett.
Mr. Smollett plays Jamal Lyon, the gay scion of a hip-hop dynasty. The character is a fan favorite and Danny Strong, a producer for the show, tweeted as recently as a week ago that Mr. Smollett is the “third lead” of the series. Terrence Howard and Taraji P. Henson are the stars of the show.
“Empire” was last on the air in December, and is scheduled to return to Fox’s airwaves on March 13. This season has nine more episodes and Mr. Smollett will appear in most of them; seven of the nine episodes have already been shot.
A big question for Fox’s producers will be how Mr. Smollett is written off the final two episodes this season, and how they will approach his character if it’s decided he should leave the show for good. When Jamal Lyon was last seen, he was fighting with his fiancé who, in turn, was threatening to move to London. One solution for the show’s creators could be to have Jamal join his fiancé in Britain.
Or perhaps the producers could go a more tried-and-true route.
“The easiest way is that they write him to die or they languish him to the hospital for some time, hoping people will forget them,” said Linda Seger, a veteran script consultant.
The producers who announced that Mr. Smollett would be removed from the final two episodes this season include Lee Daniels, Mr. Strong, Brett Mahoney, Brian Grazer, Sanaa Hamri, Francie Calfo and Dennis Hammer.
There is plenty of recent precedent of producers removing actors from TV series when real-life events force their hand. Charlie Sheen was fired from the CBS sitcom “Two and a Half Men” in 2011 and replaced after several episodes of bizarre and bad behavior. Kevin Spacey was fired from “House of Cards” after he was accused of sexual misconduct in 2017. And ABC spun-off “Roseanne” into a new comedy, “The Conners,” after Roseanne Barr posted a racist tweet last year.B:
【阿】【白】【已】【经】【记】【不】【得】【自】【己】【睡】【了】【多】【久】【了】，【他】【只】【记】【得】【自】【己】【醒】【过】【来】【的】【时】【候】，【就】【看】【到】【了】【自】【己】【面】【前】【趴】【着】【一】【张】【熟】【悉】【的】【脸】。 【那】【是】【他】【记】【忆】【深】【刻】【到】【了】【灵】【魂】【的】【一】【张】【脸】。 【他】【和】【阿】【时】【同】【出】【一】【源】，【曾】【经】【的】【时】【候】【也】【是】【最】【好】【的】【朋】【友】【和】【兄】【弟】，【只】【是】【不】【知】【道】【为】【什】【么】，【这】【一】【次】【醒】【来】【之】【后】，【他】【不】【想】【和】【阿】【时】【做】【兄】【弟】【了】，【他】【想】【让】【这】【个】【人】【成】【为】【他】【的】【伴】【侣】。 【说】【来】【也】【怪】
【北】【风】【卷】【地】【白】【草】【折】，【胡】【天】【八】【月】【即】【飞】【雪】。 【这】【是】【一】【首】【诗】，【语】【文】【老】【师】【教】【的】，【他】【主】【要】【告】【诉】【我】【们】【这】【个】【诗】【人】【啊】，【描】【写】【了】【一】【番】【北】【方】【西】【域】【的】【壮】【丽】【景】【色】。 【但】【是】【这】【个】【时】【候】，【地】【理】【老】【师】【来】【了】，【当】【然】【这】【里】【我】【们】【主】【要】【就】【是】【写】【地】【理】【老】【师】【讲】【的】【课】【的】。 【那】【这】【句】【诗】【反】【应】【的】【什】【么】，【最】【简】【单】【的】【一】【个】【道】【理】【就】【是】【我】【国】【的】【北】【方】【真】【冷】，【接】【着】【可】【以】【看】【出】【气】【候】【的】【纬】【度】【地】
“【陈】【沐】【风】？！”【朱】【长】【生】【的】【瞳】【孔】【一】【缩】，【一】【眼】【便】【认】【出】【了】【眼】【前】【男】【子】【的】【身】【份】，【惊】【疑】【道】：“【呵】，【与】【虎】【为】【伴】【的】【你】，【终】【于】【自】【食】【恶】【果】【了】【吗】？” 【陈】【家】【被】【流】【放】【边】【疆】，【如】【果】【他】【们】【安】【安】【稳】【稳】，【不】【作】【妖】【的】【话】，【也】【能】【过】【上】【一】【些】【好】【日】【子】。【只】【可】【惜】，【陈】【沐】【风】【不】【识】【好】【歹】，【被】【内】【心】【的】【仇】【恨】【蒙】【蔽】【双】【眼】，【以】【至】【于】【让】【他】【找】【上】【欧】【阳】【家】。 【原】【以】【为】【可】【以】【借】【力】【东】【山】【再】【起】，