UPDATE MONDAY AM/PM: Five more series, the CW/CBS TV Studios’ Nancy Drew, ABC/A+E Studios, Disney+/20th TV’s Turner & Hooch and Hulu/Touchstone TV’s Mysterious Benedict Society have been cleared to resume production after receiving the delayed COVID tests for their casts and crews. The first four are back filming today; Mysterious Benedict Society will resume tomorrow. Most series had been dark since last Tuesday. Still in waiting pattern is Warner Bros. TV, which has the most series shooting in Vancouver and this the largest number of tests waiting to get though processing at the local labs. The studio has about half-dozen shows which either suspended ongoing production or delayed start of production last week.
UPDATE THURSDAY PM: One more series in Vancouver, the CW/CBS TV Studios’ Charmed, will return to production tomorrow after getting the delayed COVID-19 test results for the cast and crew. There are still a number of shows that have been dark for days due to the backlog. Limited lab capacity for the preferred PCR tests agreed on by the unions and the studios is a growing concern and could hamper the industry’s efforts to get production up and running during the pandemic.
EXCLUSIVE UPDATED: Cameras will start rolling again on ABC’s A Million Little Things and The Mighty Ducks tomorrow, Thursday, I have learned. The ABC ensemble drama and Disney+ sequel to the hit 1990s movie franchise, was among a slew of series from multiple studios, which had to suspend production because of lengthy delays in receiving COVID-19 test results for their casts and crew.
In returning to production, A Million Little Things and The Mighty Ducks rejoin a couple of Vancouver-based series, which have not experienced test results delays and have continued filming, including ABC’s The Good Doctor and Netflix’s Midnight Mass.
The remaining series that were affected will remain dark tomorrow, with strong indications that shooting would resume Friday, according to sources. That includes Riverdale, Charmed, Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist, Batwoman, Nancy Drew, Maid and The Mysterious Benedict Society. There are also several series whose start this week had been delayed; including The Flash, Supergirl and DC’s Legends Of Tomorrow. They will begin filming as soon as the test backlog is resolved,
As Deadline reported last night, we hear a local lab did not meet deadlines, leaving productions in the dark. There are no indication that there are any positive cases but, without definitive PCR test results and no rapid testing available, studios have had no choice but to halt production. The suspension of filming continues to be evaluated day by day.
Hollywood studios and British Columbia unions in August agreed on rigorous testing according to the SAG-AFTRA guidelines.
A major concern before the agreement was reached involved the volume of testing, how the information would be handled and who would have access to it. Because of the large number of tests that would be required, Hollywood studios had been planning to contract their own private labs. (Just a couple of show’s tests would exceed the number of test performed daily in the entire BC province, just over 1.5K a day before U.S. shows started filming there.) There also were concerns by Canadian officials and unions that BC privacy laws could be violated in the testing process as private companies are brought on-board and on-set, and Canadian laws also prohibit the testing of samples to be done in the U.S.
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