11:06am PT by Kate Stanhope
'Empire' Schedules Season 4 Production Hiatus for Script Work
Empire is pressing the pause button.
The Fox hip-hop drama is set to take a production hiatus to plot the back-half of its current fourth season.
The break will begin Wednesday, once filming has completed on episode 409, and is expected to last somewhere between two and three weeks. The hiatus is expected to give the writers time to catch up and plot out the eight remaining episodes of the season, beginning with episode 410.
The break will not impact the show's on-air schedule, as Empire normally takes a several-monthlong hiatus in the middle of the TV season following the fall finale, which is expected to air sometime in December.
This is old practice for the 20th Century Fox Television series, which has instituted a similar break on every other season of the heavily serialized drama starring Taraji. P. Henson and Terrence Howard.
While ratings have dipped from Empire's breakout first season, the show continues to rank as Fox's top drama. The current season is also Empire's first to air an hour earlier, at 8 p.m. on Wednesdays, where it serves as a lead-in to Lee Daniels' other music drama, Star.
Daniels co-created Empire with Danny Strong, and the two executive produce along with showrunner Ilene Chaiken, Brian Grazer, Francie Calfo, Sanaa Hamri and Robert Munic.