CBS Studios has suspended its term deals with three major producers, TheWrap has learned. Those impacted include the talk show host and celebrity Dr. Phil McGraw, “Kingdom Revolution”/”Flamin’ Hot” producer DeVon Franklin and “Dynasty”/”Nancy Drew” executive producer Lis Rowinski.
CBS will continue to cover the salary and benefits for the impacted assistants through the end of the strike or the end of 2023, an insider familiar with the deals told TheWrap. That timeline will depend on which comes first. Additionally, the term deals that haven’t been suspended by CBS Studios involve either alternative, unscripted or animated projects or some other non-WGA activity.
Representatives for Franklin and Rowinski confirmed this story. However, representatives for McGraw did not respond by the time of publication.
CBS Studios declined to comment on this story.
The legacy network is far from the only one that has suspended deals with its top creators. On Monday, NBCUniversal’s Universal Studio Group suspended deals with Lorne Michaels’ Broadway Video and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s Seven Bucks, according to media reports. Last Wednesday, Warner Bros. TV suspended its deals with Bill Lawrence, Mindy Kaling and Greg Berlanti. Deals with J.J. Abrams’ Bad Robot, John Wells and Chuck Lorre were also suspended, but it’s unclear if this change happened earlier in the strike or last week
Other writers have publicly shared their suspensions over the months. “Game of Thrones” author George R.R. Martin shared his in a July blog post. “The Wire” creator David Simon’s overall deal was suspended by HBO after 25 years in May. Similarly, filmmaker Justin Simien’s overall deal for his production company Culture Machine was suspended in the same month.
Suspending term deals means that studios aren’t actively paying producers during the ongoing WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes. This differs from the termination tactics that were used during the 2007-2008 writers strike.
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