The Difficult and Expensive Reality of Filming TV Series Amid the Pandemic

Labor News, Industry News

Reprinted from Deadline Hollywood by Nellie Andreeva on November 20, 2020.

After months of brainstorming and negotiations, the Hollywood studios and unions adopted rigorous safety protocols to get TV production going again. And, with fits and starts, it has been going, churning out fresh content with original episodes hitting the air first with the soaps in daytime, followed by unscripted and then scripted series in primetime.

But has not been easy. And it has been expensive.

So far, the safety procedures are largely working. There have been many positive COVID tests — both real positives and false positives. There also have been production shutdowns, though no reports of fatalities or seriously ill cast or crew members. (The Good Doctor‘s Richard Schiff is the only known main cast member on a series to be hospitalized with COVID, and he is on the mend.)

At least in part as recognition for the entertainment industry’s efforts, it was given an exemption from California Governor Gavin Newsom’s new limited stay-at-home order that takes effect Saturday night as the state grapples with a record number of COVID cases. (Film and TV production was not exempt from the sweeping stay-at-home orders in March.) On the list of exemptions for the upcoming restrictions, under “Industrial, Commercial, Residential, and Sheltering Facilities and Services,” there is Essential Worker Designation 15, which reads, “Workers supporting the entertainment industries, studios, and other related establishments, provided they follow COVID-19 public health guidance around physical distancing.” …

Deadline Hollywood 11/20

About Jeffrey Burman 861 Articles
Jeff Burman served on the Guild’s Board of Directors from 1992 to 2019. He is now retired. He can be reached at