At this point, it pretty much goes without saying that COVID-19 has had a massive impact on film and TV productions over the past year. Apple TV+’s The Morning Show, the TV news drama starring Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon, was among the many shows forced to stop production last year. While things eventually picked up again, it would seem the series lost quite a bit of money during the shoot, which is now the catalyst for a massive lawsuit ahead of the second season’s debut.
Always Smiling Productions, the production company behind The Morning Show, has filed suit in California federal court against Chubb National Insurance Company for financial losses stemming from the COVID-19 shutdown and the second season delays. Per THR, the producers estimate that they’ve lost a total of $44 million as a result of the shutdowns. The trade explains that Always Smiling has $125 million in cast coverage for The Morning Show, which covers “death, injury, sickness, kidnap, or compulsion by physical force or threat of physical force.” There’s also coverage that accounts for any immediate danger to a shooting location.
Chubb National Insurance Company is opting not to cover items like these, as the insurer asserts that the aforementioned scenarios did not occur during the production. Chubb has, however, stated that it will pay $1 million, which falls under the producer’s civil authority coverage. More specifically, this payment relates to any government mandates that have an impact on facility usage.
Always Smiling reportedly believes that Chubb is opting for this route in an attempt to save millions of dollars. The production company also alleges that the insurer had prior knowledge of the challenges associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, the producers claim Chubb was aware of the COVID presence surrounding shooting locations, which made those places unsafe to enter.
The Morning Show Season 2 originally kicked off production back in February 2020 before the show shut down production by early March due to the onset of the pandemic. The show would eventually go back into production in October 2020, at which time rumors began to point to series stra Steve Carrell returning for the new season. Production eventually wrapped this past May.
Always Smiling Productions is far from the only entertainment entity engaged in lawsuits related to insurance coverage disputes. Even Disney has filed suit against insurance company Fireman’s Fund, which is arguing against paying for financial losses accrued by Disney during the “second wave” of the pandemic.
While there’s currently no telling how this Morning Show-related lawsuit will pan out, THR does point out that other insurance companies have been successful when making arguments like Chubb’s. We’ll be sure to keep you posted on the situation as updates arrive.
The Morning Show Season 2 makes its Apple TV+ debut on September 17th.
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