Apple Suspends Deals With Producers, Including Natalie Portman & Adam McKay

Apple Suspends Deals With Producers, Including Natalie Portman & Adam McKay

Apple has become the latest entertainment company to suspend additional overall and first-look deals this month as the WGA strike is getting past the four-and-a-half-month mark.

As has been the case with the other recent suspensions at Disney, NBCUniversal, Warner Bros. TV and CBS Studios, impacted are non-writing producers who are not currently rendering services due to the ongoing WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes. I hear the handful of pacts that are being suspended include those for Natalie Portman’s MountainA, the company she formed with producer Sophie Mas, and Adam McKay’s Hyperobject Industries. A rep for Apple declined comment.

A number of the streamer’s high-profile deals with non-writing producers are still ongoing as they are working on projects, including Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman’s Playtone, which is behind the upcoming Apple series Masters of the Air. Martin Scorsese, who signed a film and TV deal with the streamer in 2020, also has been busy finishing and promoting his upcoming Apple feature Flowers of the Killer Moon.

Disney’s suspensions, enacted earlier this week, included deals with Gina Rodriguez and ThIs Is Us alums Justin Hartley, Milo Ventimiglia and Mandy Moore at 20th Television, Yara Shahidi and Marc Webb at ABC Signature as well as Hiro Murai, Billy Porter and Stacey Sher at FX Productions. The studios will provide salaries for the impacted assistants through the end of 2023 and development executives through the first week of October.

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 Lorne Michaels’ Broadway Video and Dwayne Johnson’s Seven Bucks Prods, among others. CBS Studios put on pause deals with such companies as Phil McGraw’s Stage 29 and DeVon Franklin’s 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 round comes as the WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes are stretching into the fall. In the first piece of good news in weeks, the WGA and AMPTP said yesterday that they have agreed to meet next week.

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