‘Empire,’ ‘Proven Innocent,’ ‘Chicago P.D.’ Productions Halted Due to Chicago Freeze

EMPIRE: L-R: Andre Royo, Taraji P.
Chuck Hodes/FOX

The severe arctic weather in Chicago has brought production to a halt Wednesday on the sets of both “Empire” and “Proven Innocent,” 20th Century Fox confirmed to Variety.

No decision has been made yet on when production will resume. That no doubt largely depends on just how long the cold snap will last.

“Chicago Fire” and “Chicago Med” are still in production, since both Dick Wolf series are filming on soundstages. But “Chicago P.D.” – which was supposed to shoot on location Wednesday – has been put on pause for the sake of the cast and crew’s safety, according to an NBCUniversal spokesperson. The plan is to resume filming “P.D.” on Friday, though that may change, depending on the weather.

Temperatures dropped as low as 26 degrees below zero in some parts of the Chicagoland area early Wednesday, with wind chills in the minus 40s to minus 50s, according to the National Weather Service. At Chicago’s O’Hare airport, northwest of the city, wind chill fell to 52 degrees below zero as temps hit 23 below zero.

The NWS said to expect Thursday to start with “all-time record cold temperatures” in Chicago, with wind chill easing up by the morning though likely still at “dangerous levels” of cold. More snow is expected.

Separately, “Empire” has been impacted by the assault and hospitalization of star Jussie Smollett on Tuesday that is being investigated as a possible hate crime. Filming had continued as scheduled on Tuesday, according to a source, and it is not yet clear how Smollett’s injuries will impact current-season production.