Jussie Smollett Hanging with 'Empire' Exec, Signs Point to Him Returning

TMZ | 4/25/2019 | Staff
Click For Photo: https://images.tmz.com/2019/04/25/042419-jussie-smollett-mahoney-primary-1200x630.jpg




Jussie Smollett might have secured his return to "Empire" -- despite ongoing controversy over the alleged Chicago "attack" -- when he kicked it in NYC with a pretty powerful show exec.

TMZ got this video of the actor leaving lunch at a Lafayette restaurant Wednesday, and he told us he was feeling "pride" about his work on the show. Turns out, he may have been feeling optimistic as well ... because the guy he was lunching with was showrunner Brett Mahoney.

Sources - Mahoney - Support - Jussie - Lunch

Sources close to Mahoney -- who's publicly voiced his support for Jussie in the past -- tell us the lunch Wednesday was a casual hangout, and not the first time the 2 have seen each other since Jussie wrapped on "Empire" amid his scandal.

We're told Brett's been telling his friends Jussie's future on the show is still up in the air, but it's unclear if the topic was broached during their lunch.

Week - Empire - Creator - Executive - Producer

You'll recall, earlier this week, "Empire" creator and executive producer...
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