FOX’s “Empire” has been renewed for a sixth season, one likely without Jussie Smollett involved. In a prepared statement, the network says they’ve picked up his contract option but there’s no plans for the character to return at this point: “By mutual agreement, the studio has negotiated an extension to Jussie Smollett’s option for season six, but at this time there are no plans for the character of Jamal to return to ‘Empire'”. The fifth season of the show saw the Lyon family trying to reclaim their music company but challenged with even heavier personal struggles than before. [Source: TV Line]
Conde Nast has announced a gigantic development slate to drive more viewership in the coming year. The online video producer reportedly has 50 returning digital video series and more than 175 pilots in production slated to hit over 2019-20 including new projects from Queer Eye’s Tan France and YouTube vlogger Joe Sugg. [Source: Variety]
Showtime has handed a third season renewal to its Lena Waithe-created Chicago South Side drama “The Chi,” coming just weeks after the sophomore-season debuted. The timely coming-of-age story follows a group of residents who become linked by coincidence but bonded by the need for connection and redemption. Jason Mitchell, Ntare Guma Mbaho Mwine, Jacob Latimore, Alex Hibbert, Yolonda Ross and Armando Riesco star. [Source: Showtime]
Little Fires Everywhere
“Laggies” and “Humpday” helmer Lynn Shelton has been hired to direct four of the eight episodes of Hulu’s upcoming series adaptation of the acclaimed novel “Little Fires Everywhere” with Rosemarie DeWitt set to star. The story follows the intertwined fates of the picture-perfect Richardson family and an enigmatic mother and daughter who upend their lives. Reese Witherspoon co-stars. [Source: Variety]
Hulu has premiered a new featurette for its upcoming “Catch-22” event series with George Clooney, Grant Heslov, co-writer Luke Davies, director Ellen Kuras, and stars Christopher Abbott and Kyle Chandler all weighing in on this new six-part adaptation of Joseph Heller’s novel. Abbott plays a U.S. Air Force bomber who becomes frustrated with his position and a sinister rule about sanity and duty. The series premieres May 17th.