Production pauses amid LA crisis

With hospitals overwhelmed major US studios shut -but unlikely to stretch on for months.

New COVID-19 cases in Los Angeles County numbered 13,512 yesterday. There are now 840,611 cases in LA at time of writing, with constant reports hospitals are overwhelmed.

The crisis has seen most entertainment productions, CBS TV Studios, Warner Bros. TV, Universal TV, and Netflix, indicate they would remain on hiatus in Southern California until the second or third week of January, if not later. That’s an extension on their usual Christmas break.

But US reports suggest months of shutdowns, as seen in 2020, is unlikely to be repeated.

Production shutdowns are expensive, and a delay of a few weeks would disrupt series’ delivery dates and air pattern. While a one-week extension of the hiatus for certain shows is not likely to materially affect the workflow of productions, if guilds and unions intervene in a significant way, the studios will have no choice but to comply.

Late night hosts James Corden and Jimmy Kimmel switched back to filming remotely while The Ellen DeGeneres Show extended its hiatus by a week. Gameshows The Price Is Right and Let’s Make A Deal were originally set to return to production in the first two weeks of January but will now not start back until the end of the month.

“The cupboards are bare and there is too much money at stake,” one anonymous producer said. “We’ve somehow convinced ourselves that we can do this safely. Are we doing it safely? We are being incentivized to believe that we are. So I think everyone is going to continue to take calculated risks.”

Meanwhile the Grammy Awards have moved from January 31 to March 14 -a date already set for the Screen Actors Guild Awards.

“We are extremely disappointed to hear of the conflicting date, March 14th, announced today for this year’s Grammy Awards telecast,” SAG-AFTRA said in a statement. “We announced the same date for the SAG Awards last July with the intent to give the greatest possible scheduling consideration for other awards shows. We expect the same consideration from sister organizations throughout the industry.”

Source: Deadline, Variety

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