12:40pm PT by Rick Porter
Polar Vortex Stops Filming on 'Empire,' NBC 'Chicago' Shows Stay Inside
Extremely cold weather in the Midwest has stopped or altered production on several TV series that film in Chicago.
Fox series Empire and Proven Innocent both shut down production Wednesday. NBC's Chicago PD also did not film as scenes were scheduled to be shot outside; sister shows Chicago Fire and Chicago Med are filming inside as scheduled, a rep for the show told The Hollywood Reporter.
A polar vortex system dropped temperatures in much of the Midwest to well below zero on Wednesday. The forecast high in Chicago was -12 degrees. Temperatures are forecast to remain in single digits Thursday.
A rep for 20th Century Fox TV, which produces Empire and the first-year drama Proven Innocent (which premieres Feb. 15), told THR the studio hasn't yet made a decision on production for Thursday. The Chicago PD rep said outdoor production will resume when it's safe for cast and crew to be outside.
The cast and crew of Empire are also processing an attack on one of their own: Actor Jussie Smollett was assaulted and beaten early Tuesday in what is being investigated as a hate crime.
"We are deeply saddened and outraged to learn that a member of our Empire family, Jussie Smollett, was viciously attacked last night. We send our love to Jussie, who is resilient and strong, and we will work with law enforcement to bring these perpetrators to justice," Fox and 20th TV said in a statement. "The entire studio, network and production stand united in the face of any despicable act of violence and hate — and especially against one of our own."