Fox's 'Empire' to End Early Due to Coronavirus Shutdown (Video)

Hip-hop drama was originally set for 20-episode final season

“Empire” is now ending two episodes early. Fox has set Episode 18 as the hip-hop soap opera’s series finale. Since the final three episodes will run concurrently, doing some easy math on dates, the new series finale is set for April 21.

Originally, “Empire” was set to end with a 20-episode sixth season. Due to coronavirus shutdown, Episode 19 had to stop after partial production had been completed and Episode 20 just isn’t happening at all.

Episode 18 will be recut with some Episode 19 footage in an effort to make what was to be the third-to-last episode feel more like a satisfying finale, a person with knowledge of the plans told TheWrap.

Fox did not immediately respond to TheWrap’s request for comment on this story.

“Get ready for the shocking final three episodes of ‘Empire,’” a voiceover read in a promo following Episode 615 on Tuesday. That verbiage is what tipped fans — and enterprising reporters — off to the change of plans.

Watch the promo via the video above.

“Empire” Episode 616, titled “We Got Us,” airs next week at 9/8c on Fox. Here is its description, per the network: “After witnessing Andre’s breakdown, Cookie and Lucious have him committed to the same treatment facility as Leah (guest star Leslie Uggams) and the guilt Cookie feels from Andre’s situation causes her to wonder how different life would be if she had not gone to prison. Meanwhile, Becky struggles with balancing her personal and professional relationships and Hakeem and Maya find themselves in a less-than-ideal situation after a drunken night in Vegas in the all-new “We Got Us” milestone 100th episode of ‘Empire’ airing Tuesday, April 7 on Fox.”

“Empire,” once a behemoth in the Nielsen ratings, has since seen its share of setbacks. Most notably, star Jussie Smollett was written out of the drama series late last season after he was arrested and charged with what Chicago authorities still believe was planning, carrying out and reporting a fake hate crime.

Though the charges were dropped about a year ago, in February, Smollett was charged with six more counts. He pled not guilty. Smollett was due in court on March 18, but almost all court appearances in major cities have been put on pause due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

As for those “Empire” ratings, well, they’re nowhere near where they once were — though that decline began way before the Smollett saga.

Hooray for Holly-Weed: 19 Celebrity Stoners to Celebrate 420 With (Photos)

  • Hollywood stars don’t shy away from being 420-friendly. Here are the biggest names in entertainment who like to roll up a blunt or hit a bong — no matter what the date is.

  • Robert Mitchum 

    The O.G. of celebrity stoners was arrested on marijuana charges in 1948 and spent two months behind bars.

    Flickr

  • Willie Nelson 

    The Red-Headed Stranger is notoriously no stranger to the green and announced that he was launching his own strain of premium weed back in 2015. We have no idea what took him that long.

    Getty Images

  • Roseanne Barr 

    The “Roseanne” star, who smokes to alleviate her glaucoma, got into the weed biz in 2016 by investing in the dispensary Roseanne’s Joint. She even famously got stoned an old episode of her show. 

    Getty Image

  • Chace Crawford 

    The former “Gossip Girl” star gave people plenty to wag their tongues about when he was arrested for marijuana possession in 2010.

    Getty Images

  • Woody Harrelson 

    Might as well call him Weed-y Harrelson. Harrelson said he had given up smoking back in 2017, but he might’ve just traded in his bong for edibles. 

  • Frances McDormand 

    When she’s not appearing in awesome projects like “Fargo” and “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” McDormand serves as a High Times cover girl.

  • Seth Rogen 

    The “Pineapple Express” actor not only knows his way around a bong, he’s named names when it comes to his famous smoke-out pals.

  • Cameron Diaz 

    The “There’s Something About Mary” star has admitted that she used to buy weed from Snoop Dogg. Which leads us to …

    Getty Images

  • Snoop Dogg 

    We’d have to be completely high to leave him off of this list.

    Getty Images

  • Miley Cyrus 

    It’s like she’s trying to kill Hannah Montana by suffocating her in a thick cloud of pot smoke.

  • Justin Timberlake
      

    “Got that sunshine in my pocket.” Timberlake says he smokes out because “sometimes I have a brain that needs to be turned off.”

    Getty Images

  • Whoopi Goldberg 

    The main ma’am of “The View” also recently got into the medical-marijuana game.

    ABC

  • Matthew McConaughey 

    Weed and naked bongo playing? Alright, alright, alright.

    Lincoln

  • Sarah Silverman 

    Silverman doesn’t leave home without it — especially when she’s hitting the red carpet.

    NBC

  • Oliver Stone 

    More like Oliver Stoned.

    Getty Images

  • Dawn Wells 

    Mary Ann from “Gilligan’s Island” got popped for pot in 2008.

  • Dave Chappelle 

    The comedian shocked the world when he announced that he had stopped smoking weed — but only with black people.

    Comedy Central

  • Jennifer Aniston 

    “I mean, I enjoy it once in a while. There’s nothing wrong with that. Everything in moderation,” Aniston has said of marijuana.

    Getty Images

  • Bill Maher 

    Bill Maher was a pothead long before his “Real Time” days, but in 2016 he made a case for medicinal marijuana by actually lighting up on live TV. 

    HBO

From Snoop Dogg to Dawn Wells, you have friends in high places to commemorate the marijuana enthusiast’s special month of 4/20

Hollywood stars don’t shy away from being 420-friendly. Here are the biggest names in entertainment who like to roll up a blunt or hit a bong — no matter what the date is.

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