Protesters outside the NBC 2023-24 upfront presentation
ManOfTheCenturyMovie News TV Advances Begin With WGA Protests, Seth MacFarlane’s ‘Ted’ & No Linda Yaccarino

TV Advances Begin With WGA Protests, Seth MacFarlane’s ‘Ted’ & No Linda Yaccarino

Protesters outside the NBC 2023-24 upfront presentation

The ongoing Writers Guild of America strike led to televised presentations, and NBCUniversal was first in line for a picket line.

Before the company’s Monday morning upfront presentation, the first of the week, hundreds of protesters surrounded Radio City Music Hall in New York City. Signs read: “We’re Not on ‘Severance'”, “Here’s a Submission: PAY US!”, “Don’t Piss on My Legs and Tell Me It’s Streaming”, as well as “Who Wants to Watch ‘The Real Housewives of David Zaslav’ ?” citing Warner Bros. CEO Discovery and the push for writerless reality TV.

Inside the building, Seth MacFarlane’s teddy bear “Ted,” soon to appear on NBCU’s Peacock series, kicked things off with a fun and very R-rated song-and-dance number. The animation was made “months ago,” an insider told IndieWire, well before the strike. This also informs the photo Ted took on Twitter for “letting the crazy back” on the platform. The line got a big laugh in the room full of advertisers, especially since former NBCUniveral ad sales chief Linda Yaccarino just left to become CEO of Twitter late last week. Due to production timing, the line was a “total coincidence,” our source said.

Ted’s other best lines included a line from “Cosby Show,” as well as a disowned “Netflix and Chill” tagline, “Peacock and Fuck,” for the NBCU streaming service.

Yaccarino, a rock star in the world of media buys and a legitimate celebrity during upfront week, was expected to go after “Ted’s” cold open, IndieWire is told. But due to the leak of her speeches on Twitter (and then escalating into an actual announcement), she withdrew from the event and exited NBCUniversal early. Mark Lazarus, the president of the company’s television and streaming businesses, took his place on stage. He recognized the elephant in the room and thanked Yaccarino for his years of contributions from her.

Mark Wahlberg in Seth MacFarlane’s film “Ted,” coming soon to Peacock via series©Universal/Courtesy of Everett Collection

The writers will get their next chance to stake out Fox’s Monday afternoon presentation at the Manhattan Center. Regardless of how it plays out, the WGA’s impact on upfronts was felt the most by Netflix, which turned its planned in-person presentation into a virtual pedestrian safety event. The WGA has shared its picket plans with the NYPD, the guild told IndieWire.

It’s not just presentations that are influenced by the Writers Guild of America. Since the strike began on May 2, numerous productions have stopped in solidarity with the demonstrations. Upcoming seasons of fan-favorite series like ‘The Last of Us’, ‘Yellowjackets’, ‘Severance’ and ‘P-Valley’ have stopped production, while ‘House of the Dragon’ and ‘Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power” continued filming their respective second seasons without the showrunners. We have yet to see the full impact of the strike, although Fox also did not share a fall schedule with the media on Monday morning.

The WGA strike came into effect after six weeks of unsuccessful negotiations with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, which represents the likes of Netflix, Disney, Apple, NBCUniversal, Warner Bros., Paramount, Amazon and others. The writers are calling for better pay, residual facilities, and protection against AI as a replacement tool for their work, among other concerns.

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