"We are turning the final season of Empire into a large television event".
Collier says the network wants to give "Empire" a big send-off and that's the focus. Smollett was accused of faking a hate crime attack against himself in Chicago.
Viewers had been tuning in on Wednesdays at 8 p.m., but Season 6 will air on Tuesdays at 9 p.m.
While the TV studio didn't necessarily draw any lines between Smollett's legal imbroglio and the drama's axing, Fox CEO Charlie Collier deftly dodged any questions about a possible connection between the two during a media conference call on Monday morning. Chief among these is "Empire", which will call it quits in 2020 after a six-season run.More news: Leeds win 1-0 at Derby in playoff semi-final first leg
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We looked at our priorities and were trying to prioritize giving Empire the send-off it deserves. "We know there are so many more stories to tell, and we can't wait to see what they have in store for Season 6".
Jussie Smollett, a cast member in the TV series "Empire", attends the Fox Networks Group 2018 programming presentation afterparty in NY on May 14, 2018. "We feel really good about what we're doing with it", he continued.
NPR's Eric Deggans noted that the decision to end the drama, along with several other canceled shows - including "Rel", "Lethal Weapon", "The Cool Kids" and "Star" (another musical drama produced by "Empire" co-creator Lee Daniels) - would leave the network without a "showcase" for black actors.
When pressed, Collier said there is an option to include him in the series "but at this point we have no plans for that". "As the series enters its final season, one thing is for sure, the Lyons never go out without a bang".
Fox said in a statement on April 30 that "Empire" would be renewed for the sixth season.
At the time of the renewal announcement, there were "no plans" for the actor to return as Jamal Lyon, though Smollett's contract had been extended to keep the option open.