Verdict on the Stewart Colbert strategy?
Force majeure ax falls at ABC Studios
Nearly two dozen writer deals terminated
By JOSEF ADALIAN
The force majeure ax has swung at ABC Studios, which today notified nearly two dozen writers and non-writing producers that it was terminating their overall deals as a result of the strike.
While all the major studios had previously suspended deals for their scribes, the ABC Studios action reps the biggest move yet by a major to cut ties to talent.
"The ongoing strike has had a significant detrimental impact on development and production so we are forced to make the difficult decision to release a number of talented, respected individuals from their development deals," ABC Studios said in a statement late Friday.
Among the talent cut loose: Gabe Sachs & Jeff Judah ("What About Brian"), Nina Wass & Gene Stein ("Less than Perfect"), Bill Callahan ("Scrubs"), Larry Charles ("Curb Your Enthusiasm"), Sean Bailey ("Project Greenlight") and the team of Joshua Sternin and Jeffrey Ventimilia ("That 70s Show," "Surviving Christmas"). "Private Practice" thesp Taye Diggs, who had a production deal at ABC Studios, has also had that pact terminated.
Agents were still notifying clients of Disney's action, and more names are expected to leak out over the weekend. In addition, industry insiders said Warner Bros. TV was also preparing to make some cuts to its roster--though nothing as dramatic as ABC Studios' action.