Amid Covid rampage in California, Hollywood halts TV production


After months of surging coronavirus cases, hospitalizations and deaths in California, several Hollywood guilds and labor unions are recommending temporarily halting in-person production of TV shows and independent films.

SAG-AFTRA, the Joint Policy Committee and the Producers Guild of America announced their recommendation on Sunday, days after the regional stay-at-home order in the state was extended for an indefinite period.

Southern California hospitals are facing such a crisis as has never been seen in the state before, SAG-AFTRA president Gabrielle Carteris told CNBC.

“Patients are dying in ambulances waiting for treatment because hospital emergency rooms are overwhelmed,” he said, adding that it was not a safe environment for in-person production.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti told CBS’s “Face the Nation” that one person contracts the coronavirus every six seconds in Los Angeles County.

More than 45,000 fresh cases were reported in California on Sunday, as the state-wide hospitalization rate reached its highest since the beginning of the pandemic.

Of these new cases, as many as 12,400 were from Los Angeles County, according to the state’s health department.

“Even putting aside the risk of acquiring COVID on set — a risk that we have done a great deal to mitigate through our safety protocols — on set production always poses some risk of injury, whether because of a stunt gone wrong, an equipment failure or a garden-variety fall,” said David White, SAG-AFTRA’s national executive director.

“Right now, with few if any hospital beds available, it is hard to understand how a worker injured on set is supposed to seek treatment.”

Warner Bros. said last week that its CBS series “Mom,” “B Positive,” “Bob Hearts Abishola” and the Showtime drama “Shameless” as well as Netflix’s “You” will not resume filming until next week.

Universal has also halted filming on six shows including “Mr. Mayor,” “Good Girls”, “Kenan” and “Brooklyn Nine-Nine.”

Most of its shows are tentatively planned to start shooting again on January 11, except for “Brooklyn Nine-Nine,” which is expected to resume after January 18.

Variety reported that 16 shows produced by Walt Disney-owned 20th Television and ABC have extended production hiatuses. That includes: “Black-ish,” “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Mixed-ish,” “Station 19″ and “This is Us.”

ABC’s “The Goldbergs” and Netflix’s “Atypical,” which are produced by Sony Pictures Television, were supposed to resume production next week, but will restart the week after. “Jeopardy!” and “Wheel of Fortune” will resume shooting the week of Jan. 11.

CBS Studio productions of “NCIS,” “Seal Team,” “NCIS: Los Angeles,” and “Why Women Kill,” are also among productions that have postponed until Jan. 11.

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