Just as “Empire” returns to air new episodes of its fourth season post-World Series, the production is entering a hiatus period, Variety has confirmed.
Filming was completed on the first nine episodes of the fourth season before production shut down for this hiatus, which will see the writers regrouping with co-creators and executive producers Danny Strong and Lee Daniels, as well as Imagine executive producers Brian Grazer and Francie Calfo, who are stepping into the room to help craft the back nine episodes.
The large scale of “Empire’s” dramatic storytelling, as well as musical numbers, makes the show complex, and halting production now will allow those behind the show to deliver the strongest possible episodes to wrap up the season, a studio representative explained.
This is not the first time “Empire” has taken a production hiatus to allow writers more time to develop stories, and given that the season was already scheduled to be split with an on-air break starting in Dec. and carrying through early 2018, this hiatus should not affect when the show airs new episodes.
“Empire” showrunner Ilene Chaiken is also developing two new dramas for Fox, but the studio rep also noted that such deals and splitting of time is very common, and she will very much be a part of the regrouping taking place during this hiatus, to continue to run the show. Fox added that she is an invaluable part of the show.
“Empire,” which is on Wednesdays at 8 p.m. on Fox, currently averages a 1.8 rating in adults 18-49 and 5.5 million total viewers.