Jussie Smollett’s final episode on Season 5 of Empire didn’t exactly burn up the ratings charts.
Wednesday night’s installment of the Fox drama featured TV’s first gay, black wedding as Jamal (Smollett) and Kai (Toby Onwumere) tied the knot.
The storyline may have been historic, but the ratings weren’t.
The series hit a 1.1 rating in the advertiser coveted adults 18-49 demo, tying its series low, according to Variety. Just 3.8 million total viewers tuned in.
The episode was Smollett’s last scheduled appearance on the series, after he was written out of the final two episodes of Season 5 following his arrest for allegedly filing a false police report on his Jan. 29 attack. Smollett was charged with 16 felony counts, and pleaded not guilty. The Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office dropped all charges on March 26.
Hours before Wednesday night’s episode of Empire, series co-creator Lee Daniels discussed the actor’s fate on Good Day New York.
“It’s causing a dilemma,” Daniels admitted about Smollett’s alleged attack. “We are in discussions about that right now.”
After being grilled by the local news program’s hosts, Daniels admitted the city of Chicago’s $130,000 lawsuit filed against Smollett and the increased cost to insure him are factors in his future on the show.
Still, Smollett has the backing of his fellow castmembers, who wrote a letter to the show’s executive team saying they “stand with” the embattled star.
“Together, as a united front, we stand with Jussie Smollett and ask that our co-star, brother and friend be brought back for our sixth season of Empire,” the letter said. It was signed by Terrence Howard, Taraji P Henson, Bryshere Y. Gray, Trai Byers, Gabourey Sidibe and Nicole Ari Parker.