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NBCUniversal Studio Group & CBS Studios Suspend Deals With Producers, Including Lorne Michaels & Phil McGraw, Amid Strikes

UPDATED: More studios are suspending additional overall and first-look deals almost four and a half months into the WGA strike.

I hear the NBCUniversal studios — both film and TV — have suspended the pacts for all non-writing producers who no longer can render services as a result of the ongoing writers and actors strike. That includes Lorne Michaels’ Broadway Video and Dwayne Johnson’s Seven Bucks Prods., sources said.

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Additionally, CBS Studios has suspended a handful of pacts with non-writing executive producers, including Phil McGraw and his production company Stage 29 and DeVon Franklin and his Franklin Entertainment. The studio will continue to pay salaries to assistants associated with the suspended term deals through the end of 2023. Reps for NBCUniversal Studio Group and CBS Studios declined comment.

TV studios initiated the first wave of suspending overall and first-look deals –primarily with writers — in early May, just days into the WGA strike. There have been more suspensions rolled out over the past couple of months as more producers wrapped work on shows.

A new wave of suspensions has come after Labor Day, including one at Warner Bros. Television last week, which included top names such as Greg Berlanti, Bill Lawrence and Mindy Kaling. With the strikes stretching into the fall and no time table for the studios and the WGA to resume negotiations, there likely will be more. So far, there have been no deal terminations, and there also has been no talk of imminent force majeure action on the part of the studios and streamers in contrast to the 2007-08 writers strike.

While television has been the focus of term deal suspensions over the past four months, the latest round at NBCUniversal spans both film and television.

At both NBCUniversal and CBS Studios, some top talent, including Dick Wolf, Seth MacFarlane and Alex Kurtzman, continue to provide services on non-struck work such as animation and unscripted, under their pacts, which have not been suspended.

NBCUniversal recently made an unprecedented move, extending health insurance for non-union TV crew members through the end of 2023 following a notification snafu. It is the only studio still providing health benefits to out-of-work PAs and other non-union production employees during the strike.

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