Coronavirus Hits Chicago Production Of Fox’s ‘NeXt’; Crew Member Tests Positive For COVID-19

By Dominic Patten, Nellie Andreeva


In what is a first for Hollywood in the ever expanding global health crisis, a member of the production team for Fox’s upcoming neXt has tested positive for the ever expanding coronavirus.

“We have been notified by the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) that a crew member on neXt, which concluded production in Chicago last week, has tested positive for COVID-19 and is receiving treatment,” a Disney Television Studios spokesperson tells Deadline. “We are working closely with the CDPH to identify and contact all individuals who came in direct contact with the crew member, and are taking precautions to protect all who work on our productions.”

With the individual in question seemingly a Californian who traveled to the Windy City for the show, that precaution extends to the concerns of one of Hollywood’s leading guilds.

“Fox/Disney notified cast and crew today that a production member for the show neXt, which wrapped production at Cinespace in Chicago last week, has tested positive for the Coronavirus COVID-19),SAG-AFTRA said in a statement tonight. “That person came into contact with other cast and crew at Cinespace and possibly elsewhere,” the actor’s union added. “We are working with the production company regarding this matter to determine the timeline and scope of potential exposure to members and others. We are monitoring the situation closely and will update our statement periodically as warranted.”

NeXt finished production on its order last Wednesday and Fox has not yet been scheduled when exactly the midseason replacement for the network will debut. 20th TV has one more series, Empire, which is close to wrapping its final season, and two pilots, The Big Leap and Ordinary Joe, filming in Chicago. None of the shows share sets, we hear.

Former Mad Men star John Slattery is the lead of the A.I .thriller drama pilot from 20th Century Fox TV.  Written on spec by Manny Coto and directed by John Requa and Glenn Ficarra, neXt is described as a propulsive, fact-based thriller grounded in the latest high tech research. It features a brilliant but paranoid former tech CEO, Paul Leblanc (Slattery), who joins a Homeland Cybersecurity Agent (Fernanda Andrade) and her team to stop the world’s first artificial intelligence crisis: the emergence of a rogue AI with the ability to continuously improve itself.

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