Last week saw multiple shows that had been previously been renewed get cancelled, with the primary reason being COVID-19 related precautionary costs. Netflix's GLOW and Showtime's On Becoming a God in Central Florida became the latest to fall prey to the coronavirus pandemic, and Hollywood thinks it will be a trend that continues. Now this week, while speaking at this year's virtual Mipcom, Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos has seemingly refuted these claims and warnings by saying the COVID-19 safety protocols they've enacted are saving productions money and making shooting days go quicker, which could lead to shows getting on the service quicker.
“Because of all these safety protocols and people being very supportive of these safety protocols, productions run much smoother, so you actually save some shooting days sometimes," Sarandos said (H/T Deadline). "Shooting days are shorter, the sets are better run, there’s fewer people on sets sometimes, which keeps the trains running on time. So there’s been some recovery in that. The other thing is you get unforeseen financial benefits of people not getting sick. Going into flu season, all these safety protocols for COVID are going to prevent people also from getting the flu as frequently as they did and you would lose shooting days to the flu. In general, it’s been not as difficult a financial pain point.”
It's worth noting that Sarandos' talking points apply only to the shows that have been able to start production and haven't been cancelled. Shooting has already resumed on high-profile Netflix shows like The Witcher and Stranger Things. This lends some credence to what Sarandos said about saving money and time, but these shows were never in any danger of being cancelled by Netflix either as they're among their most popular originals of all time.
On the other hand, the amount of programs that have been given the axe at the streamer due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic still seems to leave this up for debate. Other shows cancelled by Netflix that cited the pandemic were Messiah, I Am Not Okay With This, and The Society. The streamer even cancelled further development on The Magic Order, based on Mark Millar's comic series, due to the ongoing pandemic.
Sarandos did offer one dig at the United States' national response to the coronavirus pandemic, noting that other countries that were able to return to production quickly and safely were the ones that took the virus seriously from the top down, saying: “The countries that took this seriously at a federal level have advanced things like production and all forms of essential work."
(Cover photo by Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images)