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'Empire' It's a Wrap After Season 6 ... Still 'No Plans' For Jussie

5/13/2019 6:42 AM PDT

Jussie Smollett won't be the only "Empire" actor who'll soon be out of a job -- 'cause the next season is going to be the show's last ... and the chances of him coming back for it continue to be slim.

FOX announced early Monday morning in its Upfront conference call that the network was canceling "Empire" after season 6, which will air next year. FOX Entertainment honcho Charlie Collier said they were turning the final season into a "large TV event" in an attempt to go out with "guns blazing."

When he was specifically asked about Jussie possibly coming back, Collier stuck to FOX's talking points from last month -- when it first announced the show's renewal -- saying there's an option to have Jussie return to the series, but there's no plans for it as of now.

As we reported ... FOX negotiated an extension to renew Jussie's option for season 6, but said they weren't planning on writing him back into the show. They essentially tied up his character's storyline with a wedding this past season, and had him sail off into the sunset.

Remember, Jussie is still in hot legal water with the City of Chicago ... which sued him for staging the "attack" and costing them hundreds of thousands of dollars in resources.

Based on the network's language, it sounds like they're waiting to see how that whole thing shakes out first before getting Jussie back on board for one last round. Until then though, he's out.

Jussie Smollett 'Empire' Cast Wants Him Back ... Not Just On Paper

5/6/2019 1:00 AM PDT
EXCLUSIVE

Jussie Smollett's "Empire" costars aren't satisfied with Fox's plan to keep the actor's character off the upcoming season and are lobbying network execs to bring him back full-time. 

Sources on the show tell us cast members -- including Taraji P. Henson and Terrence Howard -- feel Jussie deserves a fair shake, and that should include a full return to the show. Just last week, Fox announced Jussie got an extension through season 6, but also ... it had no plans to bring his character back to the show. 

Our sources say as soon as the announcement was made, Jussie's costars got busy contacting "Empire" brass and pushing for his return.

As for why ... we're told the cast feels Jussie's character was an incredibly important part of the show, and they don't feel his return will hurt ratings. In one of the final episodes of season 5, Jussie's character, Jamal, got married in the first gay, black wedding on primetime TV. 

We got Jussie out just before the episode aired, and asked how he was feeling. He said, "Pride."

Jussie's still got some serious legal issues ahead of him, though ... he's locked in a nasty civil lawsuit with the city of Chicago which sued him for the cost of the investigation into the alleged racist and homophobic attack.

One theory on Jussie's contract extension is that Fox is waiting to see how the case plays out before making a final decision on his future with the show. 

Smollett was hit with 16 felony counts for lying to cops about the incident... but the charges were ultimately dropped

Jussie Smollett 'Empire' is Coming Back ... But Jussie Isn't

4/30/2019 2:45 PM PDT

The good news for "Empire" fans ... the show is coming back for Season 6. The bad news for Jussie Smollett -- he's not coming back.

Fox just issued the following statement ... "By mutual agreement, the studio has negotiated an extension to Jussie Smollett's option for season 6, but at this time there are no plans for the character of Jamal to return to 'Empire.'" 

Yep ... sounds weird, that Fox wants to keep Jussie hanging just in case, but that's the deal. It could be ... Fox is hedging its bets, to see what happens in the civil case in which the City of Chicago is suing the actor for the costs of the investigation. The upshot of that case -- Jussie will be tried for allegedly faking the "attack."  Perhaps if he wins, Fox will reconsider.

As we reported, Jussie has had lunch meetings with "Empire" execs, and for a time it looked like he may come back, but now it seems Jussie needs to find other employment.

Here's the loose end ... by picking up/extending Jussie's option, it would seem they have to pay him something per the contract.  After all, he couldn't really accept another gig if he could be called back to "Empire."  So, is Jussie getting paid for not working on the show?  

Jussie Smollett Kim Foxx Slapped With Subpoena Over Handling Of 'Attack' Case

4/28/2019 4:38 PM PDT

Kim Foxx, Chicago's top prosecutor, has just been subpoenaed to appear at a court hearing regarding her handling of the Jussie Smollett "attack."

The State's Attorney was hit with the subpoena by a retired appellate judge who is seeking the appointment of a special prosecutor to look into how Kim dealt with the super controversial case, according to a report from the Chicago Sun-Times

The report says retired judge Sheila O'Brien, who filed the petition for a special prosecutor, also filed a "notice to appear" in an attempt to get Jussie to attend Thursday's court hearing.

The retired judge reportedly requested Jussie and Foxx produce all original documents in the case to prove "that they have not been altered or destroyed."

Foxx has been harshly criticized ever since her office dismissed all 16 counts against Jussie over the alleged "attack."

The retired judge reportedly wrote that Foxx's handling of the case was "plagued with irregularity" and that "Foxx misled the public into believing that Smollett's case was handled like any other prosecution and without influence."

Foxx has defended the decision to drop the charges against Jussie ... and has said she welcomes an independent investigation.

Kellyanne Conway Trump Is Just Following Kim Foxx In Calling Jussie '3rd Rate Actor'

4/28/2019 1:29 PM PDT
EXCLUSIVE

Kellyanne Conway is defending President Trump's decision to rip Jussie Smollett's acting chops ... saying the Prez is just following the lead of State's Attorney Kim Foxx.

We got Kellyanne out in Washington D.C. on Sunday, and our photog asked about the President taking aim at Jussie and ripping him as a "3rd rate actor" during a Wisconsin rally.

Kellyanne says Trump is just echoing what Foxx said about Jussie when Foxx referred to Smollett as a "washed up celeb" in unearthed text messages.

Conway, counselor to President Trump, goes even further ... saying there are lots of people in Chicago -- powerful ones too -- who are on Trump's side when it comes to Jussie and the alleged attack. 

Check out our clip ... Kellyanne says Trump supporters should still be outraged over the whole case, and she hopes justice eventually comes for Jussie.

Jussie Smollett Baby Bro's Helping Me Move On ... to a New Crib!!!

4/26/2019 4:11 PM PDT

Jussie Smollett's got a lot of baggage, so he's enlisted his brother to help him load it up and move it out ... to a new pad, that is.

The embattled "Empire" star's baby bro, Jake, got down and dirty Thursday to help Jussie move out of his Studio City crib and into a new home. You can also see a moving crew helping big time ... hauling a bunch of Jussie's crap -- from workout equipment and lamps to chairs and mirrors.

Jake, who's also an actor, has stood firm -- like all of the Smolletts -- in his support of Jussie. 

You might say Jake's going above and beyond for his bro ... because the move was going down while Jussie was in NYC power-lunching with "Empire" honcho, Brett Mahoney -- no doubt, discussing his future on the show.

Two-pronged attack -- Jussie handles biz, while his family handles the personal stuff.

Jussie Smollett 'Empire' Future Looking Bright After NYC Power Lunch

4/25/2019 10:31 AM PDT
Exclusive Details

Jussie Smollett might have secured his return to "Empire" -- despite ongoing controversy over the alleged Chicago "attack" -- when he kicked it in NYC with a pretty powerful show exec.

TMZ got this video of the actor leaving lunch at a Lafayette restaurant Wednesday, and he told us he was feeling "pride" about his work on the show. Turns out, he may have been feeling optimistic as well ... because the guy he was lunching with was showrunner Brett Mahoney.

Sources close to Mahoney -- who's publicly voiced his support for Jussie in the past -- tell us the lunch Wednesday was a casual hangout, and not the first time the 2 have seen each other since Jussie wrapped on "Empire" amid his scandal.

We're told Brett's been telling his friends Jussie's future on the show is still up in the air, but it's unclear if the topic was broached during their lunch.

You'll recall, earlier this week, "Empire" creator and executive producer Lee Daniels said the same -- that they're currently considering bringing Jussie back.

Now, let's connect the dots ... seems unlikely that Mahoney would break bread with Jussie if he thought they were about to 86 him from the show.

Another strong sign for Jussie ... the letter his costars Taraji P. Henson and Terrence Howard wrote imploring network execs to let Jussie stay on the show. They said he's innocent and "filled with integrity" and they want to "put this behind us and move forward.”

The NY Post first reported Mahoney was lunching with Jussie. We'll see how it plays out, but that meal might end up being the crucial moment "Empire" and its star smoothed things out. 

As we've told you, Jussie's still dealing with drama in Chi-town ... namely that civil lawsuit the city filed to get Jussie to pay for the investigation into the alleged "attack." Essentially, Chicago wants a trial to prove he lied to cover up a hoax.

Jussie Smollett I'm Proud of My 'Empire' Work ... As His Potential Final Episode Airs

4/24/2019 2:41 PM PDT

Jussie Smollett's last episode ever of "Empire" could be running Wednesday night ... and a few hours before it aired, he told us he only has one word on his mind. 

We got the embattled actor leaving Lafayette restaurant in NYC, and the paps asked him how he feels about his final episode of this season. There are 2 more to go, but we already know Jussie won't be in them. 

Make no mistake ... Jussie's future with the show is completely up in the air. On Tuesday, creator and executive producer Lee Daniels made it clear they're still debating whether to bring him back next season. Jussie seemed totally unshaken when we asked him about it.

As we first reported ... Jussie was written off the final 2 episodes on the heels of his arrest and felony charges of disorderly conduct for lying to cops. As it stands now,  "Empire" hasn't been officially green lit for season 6, but assuming it will be ... there's no guarantee he'll be part of it.

As it turns out, Jussie's co-stars, Taraji P. Henson and Terrence Howard, came out swinging for him ... firing off a letter to the show's honchos ... demanding he remain on the show. The letter, posted by Deadline, read, "Together, as a united front, we stand with Jussie Smollett and ask that our co-star, brother and friend be brought back for our sixth season of Empire."

It goes on to say, "He is also innocent and no longer subject to legal uncertainty with the criminal charges against him having been dropped. We are confident in his lawyer’s assurance that the case was dismissed because it would not have prevailed.”

Chicago is not so sure -- and, the fact is, Jussie's still facing a civil trial where the city will try to show he did lie. 

A lot of balls up in the air. 

Lee Daniels Jussie's Fate On 'Empire' ... Now Being Decided

4/23/2019 11:15 AM PDT

Lee Daniels says there's an important discussion going down right now ... whether Jussie Smollett will be cut from "Empire."

The "Empire" creator was out and about Tuesday in New York City when Adam Glyn asked about the next season of the show, and whether there's a place for Jussie. Here's what's clear ... there's no clear answer for Daniels and Co.  

Also, BTW, there's no clear answer on whether the show is coming back, because Season 6 has not been greenlit ... but we're guessing it will be a go.

As for whether Lee thinks Jussie scammed everyone with the alleged attack, he says there are 2 judges and only 2.

Jussie Smollett Osundairo Brothers Sue for Defamation Geragos Bashes 'Comical' Lawsuit

4/23/2019 11:05 AM PDT
Breaking News

11:05 AM PT -- Mark and Tina tell TMZ, "At first we thought this comical legal document was a parody. Instead, this so-called lawsuit by the brothers is more of their lawyer driven nonsense, and a desperate attempt for them to stay relevant and further profit from an attack they admit they perpetrated."

They continue, "While we know this ridiculous lawsuit will soon be dismissed because it lacks any legal footing, we look forward to exposing the fraud the Osundairo brothers and their attorneys have committed on the public."

9:43 AM PT -- Ola was out and about Monday afternoon in Chicago ... looking carefree a day before he his brother, Abel, filed a lawsuit in federal court. Ola's asked if he thinks Jussie owes the City of Chicago an apology. He seems more psyched hanging out with his boy and their exotic pets.

8:35 AM PT -- The presser just ended and NOBODY asked why Abel and Ola are NOT suing Jussie. The brothers' attorney, Gloria Schmidt, read a statement on behalf of the brothers ... saying they can no longer sit back and watch lie after lie being fabricated about them.

7:45 AM PT -- The brothers' attorneys are holding a news conference in Chicago, and we'll be live streaming. The big question, of course ... WHY didn't Abel and Ola sue Jussie Smollett???

The 2 brothers who allegedly faked the Jussie Smollett attack are suing the actor's lawyers, Mark Geragos and Tina Glandian, for defamation, claiming the attorneys lied to the media and tried to make it appear Ola and Abel Osundairo were the culprits in a real, homophobic and racist attack.

The brothers filed the case in Chicago federal court, claiming Jussie "used his clout as a wealthy actor to influence [the brothers] who were in a subordinate relationship to him and were aspiring to 'make it.'"

The suit says when Tina Glandian went on 'GMA,' "Today" and the Reasonable Doubt podcast after the charges against Jussie were dismissed, she told a string of lies ... including the brothers wore whiteface during the attack and the brothers were involved in an illegal Nigerian steroid trafficking ring.

The lawsuit also claims Glandian falsely claimed one of the brothers "engaged in fornication with Mr. Smollett."

As for Geragos, the suit claims he "repeatedly indicated that plaintiffs conspired to criminally attack Mr. Smollett, and by doing so, implied plaintiffs committed perjury" to the Grand Jury and conspired to make false statements to the Chicago PD.

The suit doubles down and says the brothers never knew Jussie would go to the cops ... rather, he was staging the "attack" for social media.

The brothers say as a result of the alleged defamation they suffered extreme emotional distress, humiliation, anxiety, damages to their reputation, and damages to current and prospective business relations.

As we reported, Ola and Abel have had a tough time finding work, both as actors and personal trainers, in the wake of the scandal.

One final thing ... it's interesting the brothers did not sue Jussie, who also claimed they were the culprits in the alleged racist and homophobic attack. 

Originally Published -- 7:29 AM PT

Jussie Smollett Brother Says He's Telling the Truth ... 'Empire' Star Has Night Terrors

4/20/2019 10:31 AM PDT

Jussie Smollett is the victim of an out of control media and social media storm and the "Empire" star is suffering profound emotional issues from simply telling the truth about the "attack" ... so says his brother.

Jojo Smollett says Jussie is "violently awakening from night terrors, following the assault" ... so he says in an op-ed piece for BET.

Jojo calls claims that Jussie staged the attack "ludicrous," adding he has been insanely successful and didn't need a phony reason to boost his career opportunities or salary.

Jussie's brother says there are plenty of people who support the actor and the problem lies with the "bandwagoning and tyranny of the 'perceived' majority."

Jojo says Jussie didn't even want to contact the police following the incident in Chicago and says it was his choreographer who insisted he do so and it was actually the choreographer who called the cops. 

The message ... "What if Jussie is telling the truth?"

R. Kelly's Lawyer on Kim Foxx Out of Line with 'Pedo' Comment ... Avenatti Weighs In

4/17/2019 11:34 AM PDT
EXCLUSIVE

11:34 AM PT -- Michael Avenatti has waded into the Jussie Smollett drama down in Chicago, saying he almost got directly involved when the case was at its peak in February. Avenatti explains -- in a statement he posted and then deleted from Twitter -- that counsel for the Osundairo brothers reached out to him to see if he could potentially help 'em out.

Avenatti says he ultimately declined, but along the way ... he says he reached out to Kim Foxx to give her a heads-up about his possible involvement as a courtesy. He insists there's nothing improper about this, as he claims it's routine. 

There's more -- Avenatti goes on to slam R. Kelly's attorney, Steven Greenberg, saying SG is trying to muck up the Kelly case by personally attacking Avenatti over his own legal woes. What's more, Avenatti says Greenberg is "attempting to create a smokescreen to distract away from the mountain of evidence" Avenatti claims the Cook County State Attorney has against the singer to prove he abused underage girls. 

Avenatti says the evidence will speak for itself, adding that he hopes Kim Foxx and co. will bring justice to Kelly's alleged victims. He goes further in praising her, saying she and her staff are "extremely professional, unbiased and focused on the delivery of justice." 

It's almost a word-for-word counter to Greenberg's claim that Foxx's office is barely functioning in chaos in the ongoing fallout of the since-dismissed Jussie case.

R. Kelly's legal team thinks Kim Foxx calling the singer a "pedophile" before he's even been given a fair trial is a clear look into how her office is run ... totally dysfunctional.

Kelly's attorney, Steven Greenberg, tells TMZ ... Foxx's texts to a fellow staffer -- in which she implicitly referred to his client as a pedo in comparing his case to Jussie Smollett's -- was outrageous, considering Kelly hasn't been convicted of any such crime. 

Greenberg says Foxx is letting her personal biases color the way she characterizes Kelly's case -- which she implied was a way bigger deal than Jussie's in her correspondence that was made public Tuesday.

As we reported ... Foxx called Jussie a "washed up celeb" who'd been slapped with 16 felony counts, while going on to indirectly compare that to R. Kelly only getting charged with 10 counts ... saying there was a discrepancy there as far as priorities go. 

Of course, her office ultimately dropped all the charges against Jussie. 

Greenberg tells us that the fact that Foxx is even having these types of conversations with her staff in this manner paints a larger picture about the Cook County State Attorney's Office ... he calls it "dysfunctional and chaotic." He also thinks Foxx lacks objectivity.

That said, Greenberg says he isn't calling for Foxx to be removed from the Kelly case just yet. He tells us there's evidence and discovery he wants to get his hands on first before doing anything. 

Greenberg adds ... once he and his team get everything they need, they'll make a decision on what to ask as far as Foxx's involvement is concerned.

Originally Published -- 8:57 AM PT

Jussie Smollett Sued By City of Chicago Half a Mil on the Line

4/11/2019 3:37 PM PDT
EXCLUSIVE

Jussie Smollett has just been hammered with a lawsuit the City of Chicago promised ... and he may effectively go on trial for allegedly staging the "attack" in January. All told, the City wants what will almost certainly be upwards of a half a million dollars. 

The lawsuit -- to recover the costs of investigating the case -- outlines what the City claims Jussie did.  It says Jussie and Abel Osundairo had been friends since 2017 -- socializing and exercising together. It says Abel assisted Jussie in obtaining recreational drugs.

The lawsuit claims Jussie told Abel shortly before the "attack," "Might need your help on the low."

The lawsuit claims, as we reported, Jussie scoped out the location for the "attack" with Abel and Ola 2 days before the attack and a dry run the day before. They agreed Abel would attack Jussie but would not hurt him too badly and would give Jussie a chance to appear to fight back.  

The suit claims they also scripted the entire attack ... starting with the brothers calling Jussie "Empire f***** Empire n*****" -- referring to the homophobic and racist slurs. 

They discussed the brothers placing a rope around Jussie's neck and pouring a liquid on him.  

The brothers were also instructed not to bring their cellphones -- presumably, so they couldn't be tracked.

The suit says Jussie intentionally misled officers into believing his attackers were white, when he knew otherwise. 

As we reported ... the city threatened to sue Jussie if he didn't fork over $130k to cover the cost of investigating a case it says was faked by the "Empire" star. The City of Chicago fired off a letter to Jussie's people earlier this month ... but his camp told the City to go pound sand.

The City says the cost of investigating the case was at least $130,000 in overtime alone, but it wants hundreds of thousands of dollars on top of that to cover attorneys fees and additional expenses.  And then the City wants the judge to multiply that times 3, to punish Jussie.  

As you know ... prosecutors shockingly dropped 16 criminal counts against Jussie, which pissed off Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Chicago PD -- and now has many calling for State's Attorney Kim Foxx's job.

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