UPDATE: After Variety reported this afternoon that the "road is being cleared" for Smollett to return to the Fox drama for the latter half of the sixth and final season, Empire co-creator Lee Daniels tweeted in response: "This is not factual. Jussie will NOT be returning to Empire. -LD." Variety's Joe Otterson originally reported: "According to multiple production sources, Empire’s writers are currently breaking ideas for the Fox show’s sixth and final season with the expectation that Smollett will appear in the back half of the 18-episode season." The Wrap followed up minutes later, reporting: "According to multiple individuals familiar with the situation, Smollett is in very early talks to make a return to the Fox musical drama. The show’s writers have already begun developing story ideas to potentially bring back Smollett’s character, Jamal, for the sixth and final season, though the situation was described by one individual as 'very premature.'" During Fox's upfronts week last month, Fox Entertainment CEO Charlie Colliers said "we have no plans" to bring back Smollett. Fox Entertainment and 20th Century Fox Television declined to comment to Variety.