Production on Fox’s Empire was temporarily suspended on Wednesday, Jan. 30, but not immediately related to the hate crime attack on star Jussie Smollett. E! News has learned production on the Chicago-based series, as well as production on midseason legal drama Proven Innocent, was temporarily halted due to the arctic temperatures in the Windy City.
The temperature in Chicago is expected to remain under 0 degrees on Wednesday with a wind chill in the -40s.
Smollett was attacked in the early hours of Tuesday, Jan. 29 after arriving in Chicago from New York.
According to the police report, he was walking on the street when two unknown assailants yelled racial and homophobic slurs at him, they then began to batter Smollett, poured an unknown chemical on him and at one point wrapped a rope around his neck. Smollett self-transported himself to Northwestern Hospital after the offenders fled.
“We are deeply saddened and outraged to learn that a member of our Empire family, Jussie Smollett, was viciously attacked last night,” 20th Century Fox Television and Fox Entertainment told E! News in a statement on Tuesday. “We send our love to Jussie, who is resilient and strong, and we will work with law enforcement to bring these perpetrators to justice. The entire studio, network and production stands united in the face of any despicable act of violence and hate — and especially against one of our own.”
E! News has learned Fox has increased security around the Empire production in Chicago. The musical drama is currently filming its fifth season. Proven Innocent, which stars Kelsey Grammer, Rachelle Lefevre and Vincent Kartheiser, is in production on its inaugural season. It’s set to debut on February 15, 2019.
Empire airs Wednesdays, 8 p.m. on Fox.