Cut and trimmed because he’s, ah, indisposed at the moment and can’t make it to the set? Bail was set at $100,000, which should be well within Smollett’s means. He can be filming again soon if they want him there.

Or cut and trimmed because they’re planning to send him packing and the process of extricating him from plotlines is already underway?

Depending on how long this drags on, they might have no choice but to write him out. Although, per Deadline Hollywood’s sources, it seems prison is unlikely.

While scenes in the episodes currently being filmed that were to include Smollett have been cut or trimmed, sources close to the set of Empire say production is still ongoing even today…

If found guilty in this case, Smollett could face up to three years in jail for disorderly conduct and filing a false police report charges. More than likely, the prosecution and lawyers will strike a deal that will include probation, a source close to the situation told me today.

According to Variety, although Fox seemed inclined to stick with Smollett as of last night, today they may be rethinking:

Smollett has been staunchly backed by “Empire” producer 20th Century Fox TV and Fox. As late as Wednesday night, knowledgable sources said that while Fox was considering suspending Smollett from the show, the expectation was still that he would eventually finish his work on the show’s fifth season, which is still in production. But on Thursday the studio’s tone shifted.

“We understand the seriousness of this matter and we respect the legal process,” 20th Century Fox TV and Fox Entertainment said in a statement. “We are evaluating the situation and we are considering our options.”

Hollywood being Hollywoord, they’ll probably end his character by making him the victim of a fictional hate crime. That’d be a way to dispense with Smollett, reprimand him ironically, and signal to viewers that hate crimes do happen, Jussie’s chicanery notwithstanding.

Just one wrinkle: For better or worse, this moron is unquestionably a bigger star today than he was a month ago. Smollett’s return to “Empire” will attract some viewers who first heard of him and his show from the hate hoax and are now curious to see how “Empire” handles it. The cold reality is that Fox would be leaving money on the table by firing him. If they can get him to issue some perfunctory apologies and do a few mopey interviews about how he knows he “let everyone down,” they’ll get away with bringing him back.

Maybe they can even convince him to take a pay cut as a symbolic way of rebuking him for what he did. Can this poor man survive on less than $65,000 per year? Sorry — I meant per week.

Here’s the only exit quotation you need, via the Free Beacon’s David Rutz.

Update: That was fast. Smart move by Smollett to hurry back, though: It’ll be harder for producers to cut the cord if he’s right in front of them, begging not to be abandoned.

After posting $100,000 bail, the 36-year-old actor headed back to the set of the Fox drama on Thursday, sources tell The Hollywood Reporter.

The Fox drama is currently shooting the penultimate episode of season five. As the legal process has unfolded over what local authorities are calling a hoax attack, the writers of the Lee Daniels and Danny Strong drama have multiple options they are considering for the season finale. Those options include keeping Smollett’s character, fan-favorite Jamal Lyon, in the script or writing the embattled actor out of the episode.