Police did not say what crime they may have committed, and they have not been charged, but spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said police consider them to be suspects in the attack.
The two men — whom police have identified only as Nigerian brothers — were picked up at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport on Wednesday and taken into custody after returning from Nigeria after police learned that at least one of the men worked on "Empire," according to Guglielmi. He said he did not know what the man's job was on the television drama.
He confirmed that a search warrant was executed at the Chicago apartment where the men lived but did not have any information about what exactly what police found.
Guglielmi's comments followed a furious 24 hours that included local media reports that the attack was a hoax. Police say those reports are unconfirmed.
A Chicago police source did confirm to Fox News Saturday a local report that Smollett was seen on surveillance video walking into his apartment building with what looks like a Subway sandwich bag after the alleged attack occurred.
Producers of the television drama also disputed media reports that Smollett's character, Jamal Lyon, was being written off the show, calling the idea "patently ridiculous."
Smollett, who is black and openly gay, told the Chicago Police Department that he was attacked by two men on Jan. 29 while walking home to his apartment. He alleged the men hurled racial and homophobic slurs at him, beat him and poured an "unknown chemical substance" on him.
Responding officers, according to a police report, found Smollett with a rope hanging from his neck. Chicago police told Fox News it was a “small white rope, like the type you’d buy in a hardware store.”
Chicago Police told Fox News that at one point they had at least 12 detectives on the case.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.