The popular Christian historical drama “The Chosen” has become the first television series to be granted an exemption from the Screen Actors Guild amid the ongoing strike.
“Great news! We just received word from SAG that we have been approved for a waiver,” the show’s official Twitter account posted on Sunday. “We’ll continue shooting on Monday.”
“The Chosen” received its waiver because it is an independent production not affiliated with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers. As part of the exemption, the TV series must agree to abide by the contract terms eventually agreed upon with the alliance after the strike ends.
Directed and co-written by filmmaker Dallas Jenkins, “The Chosen” focuses on the life and ministry of Jesus, played by SAG actor Jonathan Roumie. The series follows Jesus and the people he met or interacted with throughout his life.
Finances for the series were raised via crowdfunding, making “The Chosen” one of the most successful crowdfunded TV series of all time. As of 2021, viewers had contributed $40 million toward the project. Episodes are available for free on the show’s website and app. “The Chosen” also licenses its content to Lionsgate and has previously sold past seasons to The CW, Netflix, Amazon and Peacock. According to “Deadline,” those deals only apply to the first three seasons and not the currently filming fourth season, which is why the show was eligible for an exemption.
“We’ve submitted all the requested paperwork immediately,” Jenkins said. “We fit all qualifications for an exemption. Every day that goes by without your response costs us hundreds of thousands of dollars while your actors are stuck in Utah. We’re the good guys. We’ve treated your actors well.”
The series temporarily had to film a day or two without the cast until the waiver was granted. The SAG-AFTRA officially went on strike last week., joining the ongoing writers’ strike against film and television studios. Numerous productions are now on hold indefinitely until the strike is settled. Similarly to the writers’ strike , the actors’ union is looking for increased compensation, specifically concerning streaming residuals, as well as protections against the use of AI in film and TV productions.
–Alan Goforth | Metro Voice