Almost two months since Hollywood’s TV studios put their broadcast pilots on hold just as most of them were about to start filming, some studios are starting to pay actors on the impacted pilots. The move comes after weeks of discussions between studio executives and SAG-AFTRA representatives over interpretations of the language in actors’ contracts as the current shutdown over the coronavirus pandemic is without precedent.
Noone would comment but I hear Warner Bros TV has committed to pay nearly all series regulars’ pilot fees in full in order to cement the studio’s hold on them until June 30 when the options of all broadcast pilot series regulars expire.
I hear Disney TV Studios has agreed to pay 50% of the series regulars’ fees now and the remaining 50% on June 30 to hold the actors through Sept. 30 with an extra option to extend them through Dec. 30 if needed. The studio also is said to have paid the pilots’ guest stars.
I hear Universal Television is employing a payment model similar to Disney TV Studios.
CBS TV Studios is yet to inform the actors on its pilots about its compensation plans. CBS, which is the studio’s main broadcast buyer, has been the most proactive with decisions on pilots, recently passing on drama The Lincoln Lawyer, which had a series production commitment, from A+E Studios and CBS TV Studios, and comedy Fun, from Warner Bros. TV.
Several studios also have compensated series regulars on series whose production was impacted by the shutdown.
As Deadline reported, Netflix paid the minimum guarantees for actors on series, which were put on hold before they were set to go into production, while HBO agreed to a payment schedule that includes giving actors 25% of their pay now, 25% when production on their show was supposed to start and the remaining 50% when filming actually commences.
I now hear NBCUniversal Content Studios has started compensating actors on impacted series using a more complex formula. I hear the studio has agreed to pay 50% of actors’ remaining minimum guarantees in monthly installments spread over the next 10 months.