NEW YORK• Jussie Smollett (above), who has been embroiled in a recent hate-crime controversy, has earned a reprieve.
Fox has extended the contract of the Empire actor as it prepares for a sixth season, keeping him on the payroll until the end of the year.
But there are no plans to bring the controversial actor back to the show. His Jamal character had been written off after accusations that he faked a hate crime in Chicago.
Charges against Smollett, 36, were dropped in March, but prosecutors said he was not exonerated in the case. A representative for the actor said: "Jussie will not be on Empire in the beginning of the season, but he appreciates they have extended his contract to keep Jamal's future open."