As the entertainment industry, like others, continues to feel the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, many TV studios have begun to terminate deals as a response to the newfound economic uncertainty.
Marvel Studios has not been immune to this disruptive wave. According to The Hollywood Reporter that Marvel has terminated overall deals with TV showrunners Steve Lightfoot (The Punisher) and Paul Zbyszewski (Helstrom). Marvel Studios has enacted the Force Majeure clause, that allows a party to suspend or discontinue the performance of its contractual obligations under specific circumstances or specific events that are not “reasonably foreseeable” or beyond the parties’ control, such as the current pandemic.
THR reported that their sources said the duo’s respective deals were with Marvel and not Disney-owned ABC Studios, which serves as the studio on the company’s comic book series. Lightfoot served as showrunner on Netflix’s now canceled Marvel drama The Punisher, which was canceled a year ago after a two-season run.
Zbyszewski, unlike Lightfoot, has served as showrunner on the comic book powerhouse on such shows as Agents of SHIELD and the forthcoming Hulu live-action drama series Helstrom, which was able to wrap physical production before the industry-wide shutdown. Helstrom, starring Tom Austen, was one of two live-action dramas, along with the long scrapped Ghost Rider, that the Disney-backed streamer Hulu picked up as a straight to series last May.
Sources note Zbyszewski will wrap up postproduction work on the ABC Signature Studios- and Marvel-produced Helstrom, along with Agents of SHIELD, Marvel’s first-ever live-action scripted original, which returns for its final season next month. Helstrom, like Agents of SHIELD, was developed by former Marvel TV head Jeph Loeb, who was replaced when Marvel’s TV unit was folded into the Marvel Studios division overseen by Kevin Feige. Of Loeb’s previous Marvel TV efforts, only Helstrom and two animated shows, MODOK and Hit Monkey, remain, as Feige’s TV push for Marvel has focused instead on spinoffs of MCU features for streamer Disney+.
Marvel Studios, which has seen the production on its programming delayed and multimillion-dollar movies pushed from their release dates as theaters across the globe largely remain closed, has yet to officially comment on the matter.
NEWS WATCH: Marvel Terminates Pair of Showrunner Deals Amid Uncertainty
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