Since last season, Empire has lost approximately half of its viewing audience, most likely due in part to the Smollett fracas.
The final season of Empire will air on a different night and time this fall.
Fox's Sunday animation block stays put with the addition of the new family toon "Bless the Harts", featuring the vocal talents of Kristen Wiig and Maya Rudolph, in the 8:30 p.m. hammock slot between "The Simpsons" and "Bob's Burgers".
NPR's Eric Deggans noted that the decision to end the drama, along with several other canceled shows - including "Rel", "Lethal Weapon", "The Cool Kids" and "Star" (another musical drama produced by "Empire" co-creator Lee Daniels) - would leave the network without a "showcase" for black actors.
Seven other scripted newcomers ("9-1-1: LONE STAR", "DEPUTY", "FILTHY RICH", "NEXT", "DUNCANVILLE", "OUTMATCHED" and "THE GREAT NORTH") join the schedule in midseason/2020, as will the returning series "Last Man Standing", "The Orville" and "MasterChef Junior".
"We are turning the final season into a large TV event, we are trying to go out guns a blazing", Collier said, adding the final 20-episodes of the series will "allow fans to lean in and have the ending they deserve". "As the series enters its final season, one thing is for sure, the Lyons never go out without a bang", the network said in a statement. "Six years is a pretty remarkable run for a drama series and we feel good about it".
Amid his legal troubles, the show's producers removed Smollett's character, Jamal Lyon, from Season 5′s final two episodes.
Collier's announcement comes as a Chicago judge is slated to decide if a special prosecutor is needed to investigate why the state prosecutor's office dropped charges accusing Smollett of staging the attack. Criminal charges were dropped but the uproar has yet to subside, making Smollett a continued publicity liability for Fox.