What About Your Friends? Terrence Howard Pulls Out of Jussie Smollett Court Appearance at the Last Minute + 'Empire' Ratings Drop 35% Amid Hate Crime Scandal

Jussie Smollett appeared in court for the second time this week where he plead ‘not guilty’ to a 16-count felony indictment for falsifying a police report.

Sources exclusively tell lovebscott.com that Jussie’s ‘Empire’ co-star Terrence Howard was supposed to appear in court alongside Jussie’s family as a show of support, but he‘was unable to make it’ at the last minute.

It’s not clear why Terrence backed out, but we’ve been hearing from the beginning that despite his public display of solidarity he — as well a lot of the cast & crew — are furious.

Aside from that, ‘Empire’ returned from hiatus on Wednesday night to a 35% ratings dip.

The return of Fox’s Empire from its winter hiatus Wednesday took a tumble from its fall finale, drawing 4.4 million total viewers and a 1.3 rating in the adults 18-49 demographic, the second-lowest numbers to date for the hip-hop drama.

It still was the night’s second highest-rated show in primetime behind CBS’ Survivor (1.5 rating, 7.57M viewers), which also topped the night in viewers.

It was the first episode back for Empire since star Jussie Smollett was arrested and charged with lying about being the victim of an alleged attack in Chicago back in January. The return episode had been in the can for months, well before the alleged assault in the early-morning hours on January 29 and its aftermath.

It has been reported that the future of ‘Empire’ is in the balance as a result of Jussie’s alleged stunt. We’ll see how it all plays out both IN court and on the screen.

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