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Studios Ignore Specific Demands for Abortion Safety Protocols in Collective Response to Showrunners’ Letters

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After more than a thousand showrunners behind some of the most popular shows in the world mobilized to demand specific abortion safety protocols be put in place at the studio level, those studios answered with a collective response on Wednesday evening. The letter seeks to assure the showrunners that they share the same concerns, but does not address the specific demands the showrunners sought. It also ignores the call to cease donations to anti-choice politicians.

The response did, however, come in under the showrunners’ deadline for an answer, which was 11:59 pm PT on Aug. 10.

On July 28, 411 television creators and showrunners sent individual letters to the studios outlining four demands for specific safety protocols to be put in place for pregnant employees in states where abortion has been outlawed, or soon will be. The showrunners want systems in place to ensure safe, funded and private travel for an employee seeking an abortion; they want protocols for care for “ectopic pregnancies and other pregnancy complications” during production; and they want guaranteed safeguards “regarding criminal and civil legal protection” for those who help an employee get an abortion.

The letters have also called for the companies to “discontinue all political donations to anti-abortion candidates and political action committees immediately.” The group of showrunners — which includes Shonda Rhimes, Issa Rae, Natasha Lyonne, Mindy Kaling and many other — gave a deadline of 10 business days from its issuance.

Those letters were followed up on Aug. 1 by 594 male showrunners issuing a statement of support, who wrote, “Abortion access doesn’t only affect people who can become pregnant. It affects us all.” The men’s letters were issued by replying-all to the first ones.

These demands from the creative community were incited by the Supreme Court’s June 24 Dobbs decison, which overturned Roe v. Wade, effectively ending federal protections for abortion access.

The studios’ response defers to the health plans of the individual unions, stating that “several of these industry health plans have already adopted amendments providing for reimbursement for travel expenses associated with securing abortion services for participants and their dependents who reside or work in states where such services cannot be lawfully obtained.”

It goes on to say that they are “continuing to evaluate ways that we can best provide for our employees and workers who support our productions,” which appears to open a door for more protocols to be put in place.

The letter — which was signed by AMC Networks, Amazon Studios, Apple TV+, NBCUniversal, Netflix, Paramount, The Walt Disney Company and Warner Bros. Discovery, the original recipients of the showrunners’ pursuits — ends on a buoyant note: “We look forward to working with you to continue to make great content for our audiences around the world.”

The coalition of showrunners has retained a publicist, who had no comment.

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Thank you for your letter of July 28, 2022. We share your concerns around the health, safety and well-being of our dedicated employees and the people who support our productions. We believe they should have access to safe and effective health care, and their privacy should be protected.

Each of our individually designed corporate health plans provides comprehensive health care coverage for our respective employees. We have been independently updating our respective employees – who live and work throughout the country – as plans and policies change and expand to provide reproductive care and other support now needed in states that have restricted or outlawed abortion access.

Most workers on scripted film and TV productions are covered by industry health plans that are jointly administered by union and management trustees under the collective bargaining framework. In partnership with various industry health plan staff and the union trustees on those plans, our management trustees worked swiftly to review existing health benefits, and several of these industry health plans have already adopted amendments providing for reimbursement for travel expenses associated with securing abortion services for participants and their dependents who reside or work in states where such services cannot be lawfully obtained. We understand the other industry health plans will be considering similar changes this month. The participants in the various industry plans have been receiving communications directly from the plans about these amendments.

We are pleased that our industry partners have quickly addressed this important issue and are committed to continuing to evaluate ways that we can best provide for our employees and workers who support our productions.

We want to assure you that we are individually focused on supporting the health, safety, well-being and privacy of our respective employees and those who support our productions as we continue to monitor this evolving situation. We look forward to working with you to continue to make great content for our audiences around the world.

Signed,

AMC Networks, Amazon Studios, Apple TV+, NBCUniversal, Netflix, Paramount, The Walt Disney Company, Warner Bros. Discovery



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NBC to Develop Drama Series ‘Knockoffs’ Inspired by Narratively Article

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NBC is developing a drama series inspired by the Narratively article ““The First Family of Counterfeit Hunting” by Amy Ridout.

Per the official logline, “Two brothers reunite after a long estrangement and are pulled into a special investigation surrounding closed FBI cases. Known as “Knockoffs,” these cases have been manipulated or outright fabricated to pin the crime on someone innocent and protect the real criminal who’s still out there.”

Cameron Litvack is writing and executive producing. Justin Lin, Andrew Schneider, and Salvador Gatdula of Perfect Storm Entertainment will also executive produce along with Noah Rosenberg for Narratively. Universal Television will produce, with Perfect Storm currently under an overall deal at the studio.

Litvack’s past credits include “True Story” starring Kevin Hart and Wesley Snipes at Netflix, “Quantico” starring Priyanka Chopra at ABC, “Grimm” at NBC, and “Ugly Betty” at ABC. He is repped by UTA and Felker Toczek.

Perfect Storm currently produces the CBS revival of “SWAT,” which is going into its sixth season, as well as the reboot of “Magnum P.I.,” which had aired on CBS before moving to NBC. Lin and Perfect Storm are repped by CAA and Sloane Offer.

Narratively is repped by APA and Frankfurt Kurnit Klein & Selz.



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The Daily Show’s Trevor Noah To Exit As Host

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Trevor Noah will be departing as the host of The Daily Show after seven years. The Daily Show is a late-night talk show and comedy news series that first aired in July 1996. The series rose to critical acclaim over the course of its run, particularly in the early 2000s, and has received dozens of awards. Since 2001, The Daily Show has been nominated for 64 Emmy Awards, of which it has won 24, including Outstanding Variety, Music, or Comedy Series. To date, The Daily Show is the longest-running program on Comedy Central.

SCREENRANT VIDEO OF THE DAY

When The Daily Show first began in 1996, it was hosted by comedian Craig Kilborn. Kilborn left the series in 1998 to replace Tom Snyder on The Late Late Show, Kilborn was replaced by Jon Stewart in 1999, who notably skyrocketed The Daily Show‘s popularity. Stewart was largely responsible for creating the current format of The Daily Show, which includes humorous coverage of current events, with a larger focus on politics. Stewart left the series in 2015, citing a gradual slowdown in personal enthusiasm, as well as the exhaustion of the 2016 election. Comedian Trevor Noah replaced Stewart in 2015, and while Noah was not quite as well-received as his predecessor, Noah was generally liked by critics and audiences.

On Thursday, Noah announced his retirement from The Daily Show on-air to the surprise of his studio audience and staff. The official Daily Show Twitter page posted the clip of Noah announcing his retirement, in which Noah says “I realized that, after the seven years… my time is up.” Variety obtained a statement from Comedy Central, which reads the following:

“We are grateful to Trevor for our amazing partnership over the past seven years. With no timetable for his departure, we’re working together on next steps. As we look ahead, we’re excited for the next chapter in the 25+ year history of The Daily Show as it continues to redefine culture through sharp and hilarious social commentary, helping audiences make sense of the world around them.”

How Trevor Noah’s Exit Will Affect The Daily Show

In his statement, Noah reflects on the toll the pandemic took on him, as he was hosting The Daily Show from his own apartment for two years rather than from the studio. Noah says that while being the host for The Daily Show was an incredible journey, he was missing out on other parts of his life, including touring the world for his stand-up comedy shows. Though Noah will be retiring as the show’s host, Comedy Central seems to want to keep The Daily Show alive, perhaps with a new host. Similar to how Noah redefined the series, his successor will likely find a way to revitalize the beloved program. This could lead to a new format, or perhaps a changed focus.

After Stewart’s departure in 2015, other potential candidates for the Daily Show position included Amy Schumer, Louis C.K., Chris Rock, and Amy Poehler – many of whom have since garnered controversy for different reasons. With no set date for Noah’s retirement as of yet, it may be some time before The Daily Show gets a new host, and with them, a fresh take on the series. Either way, audiences now know to make the most of Noah’s final shows, as he will surely do the same. While Noah’s time on the series may not have been as popular as Stewart’s, his tenure undeniably changed The Daily Show forever.

Source: The Daily Show/Twitter



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5 Top Moments From Variety’s Power of Women Red Carpet

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The energy was unmistakable during Variety’s Power Of Women night. And before the show even opened, Variety’s On the Red presentation, powered by DIRECTV, went live to the masses with interviews, celebrity run-ins and more. Conversations ranged from the importance of a woman’s right to choose — whether it was how they dress or the private medical decisions they make with their doctors — to Marvel fandom and “Stranger Things.”

Here are a few of the highlights from the red carpet show.

Hilary And Chelsea Clinton On Overturning Roe v. Wade And Midterm Elections

 

During their Power of Women Red Carpet interview, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton talked about the philosophy behind creating “Gutsy,” laying out inspirational models for women across multiple professions and fields. “Whether you’re older or younger, hopefully you resonate with the stories, and hopefully you see yourself in the women and hopefully that then helps you find the gutsiness in your own life,” Chelsea remarked. They also touched on the overturning of Roe v. Wade, with Hillary remarking that it was a “direct assault on women’s health, lives and rights, and the power of any woman to make the decisions that are right for her.”

“It’s not just about abortion,” Chelsea continued. “We know that there are Republicans who also want to go after birth control, equal marriage rights, the fundamental right to privacy.” They ended their interview imploring that citizens vote in upcoming elections, with the hope that the nation does not continue going backwards.

Quinta Brunson on Oprah Winfrey Shipping Janine & Gregory

 

“Abbott Elementary” creator, Emmy winner and Variety cover star Quinta Brunson discussed her recent retweet from Oprah. After the Power of Women honoree retweeted the TV writer and star of the series, Brunson said, “I did hear that she was a big fan of the show… I heard that she was a Janine and Gregory shipper. I got word that she had some really strong opinions on Gregory and Janine getting together and no more Tariq. But I do what I can do, just make my little show and give the people what they want, or don’t want.” But what did the media mogul think of Brunson’s recent homage to her in the “Weird Al” film? While Oprah hasn’t seen Brunson’s interpretation of the host yet, she did hear that she “approves.”

‘Stranger Things’ Vecna Gives Malala Nightmares

 

Malala Yousafzai shared a powerful message to women around the world: “It’s your right to choose to decide what you wear. It’s none of the government’s or anyone else’s business,” she said on the red carpet of Variety’s Power of Women event. “We need to ensure that we create a society where women can choose for themselves.” Through her production company Extracurricular, Yousafzai is eager to create content that spotlights the pressing issues women face, saying, “I think we need to hear more stories of amazing women around the world. We need to open our mind to hearing about what’s happening in different corners of the world and ensure that we have a more diverse perspective, and not limit ourselves in thinking.” Although the activist is determined to help address Hollywood’s lack of representation, she also enjoys consuming the culture on occasion. Her latest TV obsession: “Stranger Things.” “I absolutely love [‘Stranger Things’], though it is getting a bit scary in Season 4,” Yousafzai said. “Vecna has been causing me some nightmares, but I can’t wait for the last season.”

Fran Drescher On Possibility of a Woman President Some Day

 

SAG President Fran Drescher used her Power of Women red carpet interview to champion the strength of women, reminding everyone that women are “loud, proud and equal.” She touched on the importance of SAG-AFTRA establishing an emergency fund for natural disasters in Puerto Rico and Florida: “You’re always going to see that female spirit and energy, right there on the frontlines trying to save the planet, save the world, save each other.” Of potentially seeing a woman president of the United States one day, Drescher shared her optimism about seeing it happen, explaining that it is “always darkest before dawn.”

Elizabeth Olsen on Wanda’s Redemption Arc — It’s Possible!

 

Marvel star Elizabeth Olsen could barely contain her excitement over meeting Secretary Clinton (and her daughter Chelsea) in real life. There representing the important work of the Stuart House, the actress took a little time to talk redemption for her character Wanda Maximoff. Spoiler alert: she was last seen decimating several favorite Marvel characters from Professor X on down. So can this character be saved? “I have no idea, but I feel like there’s gotta be a way we can figure it out,” she said. Hope for seeing the Scarlet Witch again, restored!



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