May 13, 2019

Fox announced today that Empire will be coming to an end after its upcoming sixth season. The news comes just two weeks after the hip hop drama was picked up for Season 6. In a conference call, network executives promised that the final season will be a "large TV event" that will be comprised of 20 episodes - its longest season to-date.

The network's decision to ax the series comes as somewhat of a surprise considering it currently ranks as Fox's #2 drama in both overall viewers and the coveted adults 18-49 demographic. But looking at the big picture, the show's recent ratings pale in comparison to when it dominated everything else on broadcast television during its heyday. And although it is still a formidable performer, its numbers likely couldn't justify the rising costs to produce it.

Co-created by Lee Daniels, Empire stars Terrence Howard as a hip hop mogul in an ever-changing power struggle with his ex-wife, played by Taraji P. Henson, for control over their family's entertainment dynasty. One cast member, Jussie Smollett, will not be returning for Season 6. Smollett was written out of the current season's final episodes after being involved in a controversy related to lying about an alleged racially-charged attack against him.

Look for the sixth and final season of Empire to return as part of Fox's 2019-2020 lineup this fall.