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Fox and the CW on Tuesday followed CBS’ lead and cut their development slates. Fox let go of about two dozen scripts, while the CW dropped about a dozen.
ABC is said to be close to implementing a similar slate reduction, while NBC has been mum about its plans.
The Fox scripts are said to be about evenly split between comedy and drama. Most of them hail from Fox’s main supplier, 20th Century Fox TV, including a drama from writer Josh Berman and a comedy from writer Rob Hanning. Also affected are projects from Warner Bros. TV — including a comedy from the Wayans brothers — as well as ABC Studios, Sony Pictures TV and CBS Paramount Network TV.
“In the current environment, we’ve been forced to take a hard look at our needs for the upcoming season, and as a result we’re going to target a more focused range of projects,” Fox said.
The CW, which also cut comedy and drama scripts, issued a similar statement.
“Due to the ongoing work stoppage, the CW will be taking a more targeted approach to what is certain to be a truncated pilot season,” the network said. “As a result, we are releasing some scripts that had been in development in order to dedicate our creative energy and resources to those projects we choose to pursue.”
CBS on Friday became the first network to release scripts, dropping about 20, mostly on the drama side (HR 1/21).
Like the projects released by CBS, most of the scripts eliminated by Fox and the CW have not been delivered to the networks, which means that their writers won’t be paid beyond an upfront fee, saving the major networks as much as a few million dollars.
The cost-reduction moves by Fox, the CW and CBS come on the heels of the termination of about 70 overall deals by the five major TV studios under the pacts’ force majeure provisions last week.
They also come amid positive signs that the resumed talks between writers and the studios might bring an end to the strike soon.
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