EXCLUSIVE: The budget cuts that came with Superman & Lois‘ and All American: Homecoming‘s renewals at the CW are also impacting the series’ writers rooms, which are undergoing downsizing. Superman & Lois is going from eight writers to five for the upcoming fourth season, Homecoming — from nine to seven for Season 3. There are no changes in the writers room sizes of the other two CW returning original scripted series, flagships All American and Walker.
As Deadline reported, Superman & Lois and All American: Homecoming were renewed in June after producing studio Warner Bros. Television agreed to deliver the new seasons at a significantly lower license fee to make them feasible for the network under its new lower-cost original programming model. For the shows to still make financial sense for the studio, their budgets were slashed, leading to cast reductions, with not all of the series regulars asked to come back full-time.
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While the cast cuts were made in June and early July, before the start of the SAG-AFTRA strike, the writers room trims had to wait until the Sept. 27 end of the WGA strike.
Superman & Lois is more expensive than other CW original dramas due to extensive special effects, so the cuts on the show were deeper. Only four of the 12 Season 3 series regulars, Tyler Hoechlin, Elizabeth Tulloch, Michael Bishop and Alex Garfin, are coming back. While the other returning CW scripted series were all picked up for 13 episodes, Superman & Lois‘ Season 4 consists of 10 episodes. That was followed by the departure last week of three writers, including staff writer Adam Mallinger.
“Disappointing news – due to budget cuts, I won’t be returning on staff at Superman & Lois for season 4,” he wrote on X. “Obviously this isn’t what I was hoping for, but after the cuts to cast and episode order, it’s no surprise either. My showrunners were in a difficult spot and I want to be clear they’ve handled it the best they could.”
I hear that, while he won’t be on staff next season, Mallinger has been assigned an episodic script which he will write as a freelancer. Of the other two writers impacted, I hear one opted not to renew his option to be on staff for the opportunity to direct an episode (having made his directorial debut on the show previously) and write a freelance episode.
Two All American: Homecoming cast members, Peyton Alex Smith and Kelly Jenrette, are not returning as series regular for Season 3 (but will likely recur), and a couple of others are back but on reduced episodic guarantees. The series’ order is going from 15 in Season 2 to 13 next season. (Under the CW’s new model, returning series are being picked up for up to 13 episodes a season.)
While the writers room minimums under the new WGA agreement do not kick in until December, the reduced sizes of the Superman & Lois and All American: Homecoming‘s writing teams still would comply. (For 7-12-episode seasons, the min is 5 writers; for seasons of 13+ episode, it’s 6.)
For the mothership All American, from WBTV, and Walker, from CBS Studios, the episode count reduction is 7 (20 in S5 to 13 for S6) and 5 (18 in S3 to 13 for S4), respectively.
Disappointing news – due to budget cuts, I won’t be returning on staff at SUPERMAN & LOIS for season 4.
I debated saying anything, but I’ve tweeted my way into literally every TV job I’ve had, so it seemed prudent to announce I’m available for staffing.
— Bitter Script Reader (@BittrScrptReadr) October 17, 2023
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