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'Empire' Season 6: Release date, plot, cast, trailer and everything else about the show's final installment

The Jussie Smollett controversy may have played a role in the decision to truncate Empire's final run but Fox executives aren't willing to specify it.
UPDATED FEB 29, 2020

Fox gave a green signal to the sixth season of 'Empire' ahead of the season five finale which aired on May 8, 2019. When news about the Jussie Smollett controversy broke out, fans were worried that the show would be canceled, but it looks like the network has saved the show for another series. Following this, the network also announced that the sixth season would be the final season for the hip-hop drama.

The decision to make the sixth season the final installment comes mere months after the Smollett controversy broke. The actor, who stars as Jamal Lyon, was at the center of a national controversy over whether he staged the attack he described as a racist, hate crime.

The announcement was made when Fox released its upcoming lineup for the 2019-2020 television schedule. Unfortunately for 'Empire', reaching the sixth season was difficult in the first place since the show has seen deteriorating ratings in the recent years, which pushed the former hit show out of the top ten list for the network.

Fox executives have declined to comment on whether the decision to truncate the run of the show had anything to do with the controversy. “We’re excited to see to this show go out with a bang,” Fox Entertainment’s chief executive, Charlie Collier, reportedly said, adding that six seasons “is a pretty remarkable run for a drama series.”

Here's what we know about season 6:

Release date

The sixth and final season of ‘Empire’ premiered on September 24, 2019. On December 17, 2019, the show went on a midseason break with episode 10, ‘Cold Cold Man’. The show is scheduled to return from the break on March 3 with episode 11, ‘Can't Truss 'Em’.


The American musical drama created by Lee Daniels and Danny Strong for the Fox Broadcasting Company follows Lucious Lyon (played by Terrence Howard), a hip hop mogul, former drug dealer and the CEO of Empire Entertainment. When Lucious is informed of his imminent early death from a particular medical condition, he is forced to choose a successor who will control his dynasty after his demise. He then takes it upon himself to groom one of his three sons to take over the family business: Empire CFO Andre (Trai Byers), R&B singer-songwriter Jamal (Jussie Smollett), and rapper Hakeem (Bryshere Y. Gray). But in the process of doing so, he pits them against each other.


Terrence Howard as Lucious Lyon

Terrence Howard attends the 2018 Fox Network Upfront at Wollman Rink, Central Park on May 14, 2018 in New York City. (Getty Images)

Howard plays the role of Lucious Lyon, a former drug dealer turned hip-hop mogul and the founder and CEO of Empire Entertainment. His life begins to crumble around him after his past wouldn't leave him alone and come back to haunt him when he is diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

The actor is best known for his role in 'Dead Presidents' and 'Mr Holland's Opus'. He was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor for his role in 'Hustle & Flow'.

Taraji P. Henson as Loretha "Cookie" Lyon

Taraji P. Henson attends the 76th Annual Golden Globe Awards at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on January 6, 2019 in Beverly Hills, California. (Getty Images)

Taraji P Henson's character of Cookie Lyon made her the first African-American woman to win a Critics' Choice Television Award for the best actress in a Drama series. She also won a Golden Globe Award and was nominated for Emmy Awards in 2015 and 2016. 

Other cast members include Bryshere Gray as Hakeem Lyon. Trai Byers will return as Andre Lyon. 

Midseason recap

In episode 10, Cookie became frustrated with Lucious, who was struggling to accept their relationship was over. Upon being shut out of the ASA nominations, the women of Bossy chose Melody for their performance slot. Teri confronted Andre over his lies. When Andre asked Teri where she was at the awards, she questioned him back about Chastity. Even as Andre told her it was all a lie, Teri made a run. 

Back at the house, Cookie tried to get Lucious to sign the papers. When he wouldn’t, she pulled out a gun. As Lucious pinned her to the desk to make her stop, she begged him to sign the papers. He confessed that he still loved her. Just then, however, Tracy came in with a gun. She waved it between the two of them, leaving viewers with a cliffhanger: who would she shoot?

Where to watch

The show airs Wednesdays at 8 pm on Fox.

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