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Warner Bros. TV Suspends Overall Deals With J.J. Abrams, Greg Berlanti, Mindy Kaling and More

Warner Bros TV Suspends Deals With Greg Berlanti Mindy Kaling and More
Greg Berlanti and Mindy Kaling FilmMagic; Getty Images

Warner Bros. TV is suspending deals with J.J. Abrams, Greg Berlanti, Bill Lawrence, John Wells, Chuck Lorre and Mindy Kaling amid the dual WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes.

Several producers — including Wells and Lorre — were informed months ago that their deals were suspended, according to Variety. After the WGA began its strike, some Hollywood power players were briefly able to continue production before SAG officially joined the picket line.

Abrams’ Bad Robot production company was working on the series Duster for Max, while Berlanti’s Superman & Lois was renewed at The CW. Meanwhile, Lorre’s Bob Hearts Abishola finished airing its fourth season on CBS in May. Lawrence, for his part, created Apple TV+’s Shrinking, which received critical acclaim after its debut earlier this year. Kaling’s Sex Lives of College Girls was set to start production on season 3 after getting renewed in December 2022.

Suspension means the producers might be able to return to their projects when the WGA and SAG reach their respective agreements with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) over issues such as residuals, AI and streaming transparency. However, dealmakers have the option to kill agreements instead of simply putting them on hold.

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The WGA formally initiated a strike in May after failing to reach an agreement in its contract negotiations with the AMPTP, which represents major companies such as Netflix, Amazon, Apple, Disney, Discovery-Warner, NBC Universal, Paramount and Sony.

JJ Abrams Warner Bros TV Suspends Deals
J.J. Abrams Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images

Two months later, SAG-AFTRA authorized a strike when its own labor dispute with the AMPTP reached a standstill. Most Hollywood productions subsequently shut down unless they adhered to the SAG-AFTRA Interim Agreement.

SAG-AFTRA’s negotiating committee recently offered an update on where they stand with the studios as the strikes continue.

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“Unfortunately, as we’ve seen from the recent news out of the WGA negotiations, it appears the AMPTP is still unwilling to make the concessions necessary to make a fair deal that would bring the strikes to a close,” an August 27 statement read. “We have been ready, willing and able to continue bargaining with them and we very much want the AMPTP to come back to the table.”

Chuck Lorre Warner Bros TV Suspends Deals
Chuck Lorre Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images

The statement also clarified the reason for offering a waiver to certain projects. (The Interim Agreement has allowed movies to continue filming if they are not produced by a studio that is part of the AMPTP and if it agrees to union guidelines. Projects that have lowest-budget contracts with SAG-AFTRA are allowed to continue working as well.)

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“To be crystal clear, once an agreement is in place, we fully encourage all of our SAG-AFTRA members to work under that agreement AND to promote work made under that agreement. The more projects that get made with the Interim Agreement, the weaker the AMPTP becomes. So, let’s lift up our fellow performers who are out there working,” the SAG-AFTRA negotiating committee continued. “We believe that our strategy to employ the Interim Agreement is working well, and we want you to know that seeing our fellow performers go to work and promote their Interim Agreement projects, including at film festivals and beyond, is a source of pride.”

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