The ongoing Writers Guild of America (WGA) strike has sent shockwaves through the entertainment industry, and now, it has reached the upper echelons of overall deals at Warner Bros. Television Group (WBTVG).
According to exclusive reports from The Hollywood Reporter, the studio has taken the drastic step of suspending a number of overall deals for its top creatives.
High-profile figures such as J.J. Abrams’ Bad Robot (known for Duster), Greg Berlanti (Superman & Lois), Chuck Lorre (Bob Hearts Abishola), Bill Lawrence (Shrinking), John Wells (Maid), and Mindy Kaling (Sex Lives of College Girls) have all seen their deals temporarily suspended. Notably, representatives for WBTVG, led by Channing Dungey, have chosen not to comment on this development.
The decision to suspend these deals mirrors the actions taken during the initial stages of the strike back in May when lower-level writer deals were put on hold. What makes this situation unique is that these mega-producers, though not actively working as writers, were contractually bound to continue their roles as producers.
All six prolific producers are behind multiple shows and had ongoing development projects at the studio. Importantly, these deals have been suspended and not outright canceled, reflecting Warner Bros.’ anticipation of requiring these top producers once the labor action concludes. They will play a pivotal role in ramping up writing and producing, as the content pipeline continues to thin amidst the strike.
The WGA strike has lasted for over 100 days, affecting Hollywood studios and streamers that make up the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP). As a result of the prolonged strike, companies in the entertainment industry have had to cut costs, resulting in layoffs.
Roku and other companies have already experienced these layoffs, and there are rumors of potential staff reductions at NBCUniversal.
The strike revolves around several key issues, including residuals, artificial intelligence (AI), and streaming transparency. As the standoff between writers and production companies continues, the industry is bracing itself for more significant changes and challenges ahead.
Warner Bros.’ decision to suspend top creative deals underscores the far-reaching consequences of this labor dispute on one of the industry’s major players.
For Reel 360 News’ full strike coverage, click here.