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Amazon, HBO, Warner Bros. TV and other major hit studios will suspend some first-look and overall deals amid the ongoing writers’ strike.
Sources close to the situation say Variety that Amazon will send letters on Monday notifying those affected. The studio has exclusions for creatives who provide production services but not writing.
HBO is said to be making calls to alert individuals, but official letters have yet to be sent.
On May 2, the Writers Guild of America (WGA) called a strike after failing to sign a new agreement with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP). Picketing soon ensued in New York, Los Angeles and Atlanta and several productions were shut down due to the strike.
Although the news of the global suspension of transactions is somewhat shocking, it is by no means unexpected. According to several agency sources who spoke with Variety, they and their clients have been prepared for this scenario exactly since the strike talks turned more serious. It is clearly stipulated in the contracts of these agreements that participation in “industrial action” such as a strike allows the studio to suspend an agreement and stop payments.
One thing agents pointed out is that no one has heard of an outright termination of the deals at this point. Such a move would be much more drastic and would likely only happen if the strike goes on for an extended period. It’s been speculated that such a move could allow studios to strike expensive deals with big producers who don’t necessarily produce a lot of content, but again, this is a situation that could happen weeks or months later.