TV shows stop filming due to COVID-19 outbreak

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Pascal Sabino

Block Club Chicago

Just days after a senior member of the production crew for an upcoming TV show filmed at Cinespace Chicago Film Studio tested positive for coronavirus, film executives are putting the brakes on many of the shows filmed in Chicago.

In a statement released Thursday night, NBC announced it was pausing several of its shows currently in production, including all three Dick Wolf dramas, "Chicago Fire," "Chicago Med," and "Chicago P.D." The hiatus on production follows warnings by public health officials to practice social distancing by avoiding groups, working from home and canceling events.

"The safety and health of our cast, crew and employees is our top priority. Where possible, we are pausing production for two weeks as a precautionary measure, following which we will reassess and determine an appropriate start date. In some cases, we are accelerating plans to wrap up physical production," NBC said in a statement.

Since the three shows were just episodes away from completing their seasons, the network said it was working with showrunners to assess whether the production would be wrapped until next season. Sources on the set indicated that "Chicago PD" had already wrapped, while "Chicago Med" would wrap Saturday. Upcoming NBC show "Ordinary Joe" is also paused for a month, according to crew members.

Other shows produced at Cinespace including "Fargo" are set to halt production for two weeks according to crew members. Fox TV show "Empire" was nearing the completion of its final episode of the entire series, but production on the show is being halted, a crew member said. Production on "Empire" is set to wrap next week, leaving production crew uncertain as to whether the show will finish filming its series finale.

According to a representative for Cinespace, the studio's production offices will remain open for the time being. Cinespace is leaving it up to the individual tenants to decide whether to continue filming, but more film networks are expected to follow suit and halt production.

Read more Block Club Chicago here.

CONTACT: pascal@blockclubchi.org

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