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It’s an election year, which means a slew of states are buckling down on decision-making on all sides of the political spectrum. In fact, down in Georgia, Governor Nathan Deal has a big one on his hands. The man has to decide whether or not to sign a bill that would allow business owners to refuse service to individuals who may not share their same sexual orientation or beliefs. If it gets passed, it very well could affect TV productions set up in Georgia, as certain Hollywood factions are making statements in opposition to the bill. One of those factions is AMC Networks, the parent network of the wildly popular series The Walking Dead.
The Free Exercise Protection Act already passed through Georgia Legislature and is now sitting somewhere, just waiting for the Governor to sign it or veto it. If he does decide to move forward with the bill, several production companies have already made statements threatening to pull their business. While AMC Networks hasn’t straight-up stated they would be pull out if the state chose to support the bill, The Walking Dead’s parent company did make a strong statement against the bill, according to the LA Times. Here’s what AMC Networks had to say:
As a company, AMC Networks believes that discrimination of any kind is reprehensible. We applaud Governor Deal's leadership in resisting a previous version of this divisive legislation and urge him to reject the current version as well.
The Walking Dead currently films in Georgia, with Senoia, Georgia being a big part of the filming. Not all residents are really even happy that the AMC drama films there, but there are some perks to living near a big TV set. The residents get to be familiar with the show before the new episodes air. Plus, those who live near the set earn an extra $400 a month on average from the production. Filming in Georgia also contributes to the economy, providing jobs and funds to people in the state of Georgia.
AMC isn’t the only company that is making a statement against The Free Exercise Protection Act. Disney also noted recently that it is a non-discriminatory company that would no longer be filming productions in Georgia should the state wish to pass a bill the company feels sets a bad precedent. Recently, Captain America: Civil War and Ant-Man were filmed at Pinewood Studios outside of Atlanta. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is currently being filmed there.
Obviously, if all filming were to pull out of Georgia, this could be a sizable issue for the state. However, reports indicate that studios like Paramount and Twentieth Century Fox are staying quiet for now. After all, The Free Exercise Protection Act is not a done deal, yet. Governor Nathan Deal has until May 3 to decide exactly what he wants to do with the bill.
The Walking Dead is close to airing its Season 6 finale already, but production usually starts up in just a few months for the next season, so we'll let you know how this shakes out. In the meantime, here's what the networks have coming up.