As the Writers Guild of America strike enters its 20th week, NBCUniversal’s Universal Studio Group has taken action to suspend various film and TV deals, including those involving Lorne Michaels’ Broadway Video and Dwayne Johnson’s Seven Bucks, among others.
This move is part of the ongoing labor dispute between the WGA, SAG-AFTRA and Hollywood’s studios and streaming platforms.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, sources have revealed that Universal Studio Group, which encompasses divisions such as Universal Television, Universal Content Productions, and Universal Pictures, reached out to its remaining writing and producing partners to gauge their willingness to contribute non-writing services to ongoing projects.
Those who are still actively involved in scripted or unscripted productions and agreed to continue working are not affected by the suspensions. However, those who have either completed their projects or were unwilling to provide non-writing services have been suspended.
It’s worth noting that the suspension also extends to non-writing producers within Universal Studio Group, impacting several prominent deals, including those with Lorne Michaels and Dwayne Johnson, who have been associated with Saturday Night Live and numerous scripted TV shows.
Last week, Warner Bros. Television Group, led by Channing Dungey, suspended its top producers, including Greg Berlanti, J.J. Abrams, Bill Lawrence, and Mindy Kaling, after they continued to deliver non-writing services. This move prompted expectations that other studios, particularly Universal and Paramount Global, would follow suit.
Some producers within Universal Studio Group remain active, including Seth MacFarlane, who is working on the reboot of Ted for Peacock, and Dick Wolf, known for his procedural dramas, who has unscripted programming in development. However, other producers at Universal Studio Group have already faced suspensions, including Tina Fey, Sam Esmail, and Mike Schur.
While studios have been suspending deals during the strike, they have not yet invoked force majeure clauses to terminate deals. The industry continues to grapple with the ongoing labor dispute, with significant impacts on various production and talent agreements.
Reps for Universal Studio Group declined to comment on the situation, leaving the industry to await further developments as the strike and negotiations continue.
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