Disney Entertainment TV Studios Suspend Deals With Producers, Including Yara Shahidi, Justin Hartley & Billy Porter, Will Pay Assistants Amid Strikes

EXCLUSIVE: Disney has become the latest entertainment company to suspend additional overall and first-look deals four and a half months into the WGA strike.

I hear the bulk of the pacts with non-writing producers across Disney TV Entertainment divisions are impacted, including deals at Disney Television Studios’ 20th Television and ABC Signature, FX Productions and Disney Branded Television. The move involves producers who are not performing services due to the ongoing WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes.

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According to sources, Disney will pay for the suspended term deals to provide salaries for their assistants through the end of 2023 and for their development executives through the first week of October.

I hear the list of suspensions include deals with Not Dead Yet star Gina Rodriguez and ThIs Is Us alums Justin Hartley, Milo Ventimiglia and Mandy Moore at 20th Television, Yara Shahidi (grown-ish) and director-producer Marc Webb (Rebel) at ABC Signature as well as The Bear executive producer Hiro Murai, Pose alum Billy Porter and Stacey Sher at FX Productions. Producers are still being notified; we will update the list if more names surface. Reps for Disney declined comment.

The expansive overall agreement of one of Disney TV Studios’ highest-profile non-writing producers, Warren Littlefield, remains ongoing for the time being as he is still working on the upcoming fifth season of FX’s Fargo, I hear.

Disney joins Warner Bros. Television, NBCUniversal Studio Group and CBS Studios, which all implemented rounds of deal suspensions over the past week.

WBTV’s list of suspensions included marquee names such as Greg Berlanti, Bill Lawrence and Mindy Kaling. The NBCUniversal studios — both film and TV — suspended the pacts for all non-writing producers who no longer can render services as a result of the ongoing strikes, including Lorne Michaels’ Broadway Video and Dwayne Johnson’s Seven Bucks Prods. CBS Studios put on pause several deals with with non-writing producers, including Phil McGraw and his production company Stage 29 and DeVon Franklin and his Franklin Entertainment. The studio also will continue to pay salaries to assistants associated with the suspended term deals through the end of 2023.

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 rolling suspensions over the past couple of months as more producers wrapped work on shows amid an industry production shutdown.

The new wave comes as the WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes are stretching into the fall and no time table has been set for the studios and the writers to resume negotiations. In a departure from the 2007-08 writers strike, there have been no deal terminations yet.

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