Originally planned to be a 20-episode sixth and final season, “Empire” will now come to its conclusion with episode 18 on April 21, according to Deadline.
The COVID-19 outbreak means that the originally intended series finale and penultimate episode were unable to be finished, with Deadline writing that “to help create a more seamless overall ending, we hear this newly minted finale will likely feature footage from Episode 19, which was halfway through filming when the health crisis paused all Hollywood production.”
It marks the latest season of television to be affected by a suspension of production, with “The Walking Dead” also cutting their tenth season short after they were unable to complete the intended season finale in time before shutting down. Filming on Netflix shows like “The Witcher” has also delayed, while “Genius: Aretha” is one of many upcoming shows having to push back premiere dates in light of the pandemic.
“Empire” made its debut on FOX in January 2015 and took the world by storm, especially with its very impressive viewing figures early on. Taraji P. Henson and Terrence Howard star as the series’ leads Cookie Lyon and Lucius Lyon respectively, with the former becoming one of television’s most iconic female characters during the ‘Golden Age of Television.’ Other long-serving cast members in the series include Trai Byers, Gabourey Sidibe, Sereayah and Jussie Smollett, who made his final appearance in the fifth season.
The series has never had the Emmy success awards pundits expected – particularly in its early run – however, Henson did receive nominations for the first two seasons of the series as well as the show becoming a mainstay in the contemporary costume category.
While “Empire” comes to its end, FOX will debut three new shows this year depending on whether productions have been able to complete in time. These include “Filthy Rich” from “The Help” director Tate Taylor, sci-fi drama “NeXt” starring Emmy Award nominee John Slattery (“Mad Men”) and the comedy “Call Me Kat,” based on the British sitcom “Miranda.”