EXCLUSIVE: NBC earlier today announced that its sci-fi drama La Brea has been renewed for a third season. I have learned that the pickup is for six episodes and that it was influenced by the possibility of a writers and/or directors and actors strike, with this likely being the show’s final chapter. Filming is slated to begin in March in Australia.
With the current WGA contract expiring May 1 and the DGA and SAG-AFTRA contracts up June 30, a potential work stoppage could impact the start of production on the new broadcast season, leaving the networks without fresh episodes of scripted series for the first few weeks of the fall.
Possibly with that in mind, I hear NBC approached the cast of La Brea about doing a short third season. Because the series regulars have a 10-episode minimum guarantee (meaning that they have to be paid at least 10 episodic fees a season regardless of how many episodes are produced), the network and sister studio Universal Television asked the cast to reduce their contractual minimum guarantees to six episodes, sources said. In exchange, I hear the actors were offered a release from the show after Season 3 — which they took — making them available to take other jobs. (A typical broadcast series regular contract is for six seasons.)
This means that La Brea would most likely end with Season 3. (There a small chance that the show could continue with a new family beyond that, played by a new cast.)
The possibility of strike(s) is expected to boost the renewal chances of other series like La Brea, which are facing cancellation this season, as they could get episodes written — and possibly produced — ahead of the potential work stoppage, getting them ready for fall. These bubble shows are safer bets than new series, whose pilots won’t be ready for pickup until May, making them a more challenging proposition to launch in the fall. Additionally, La Brea is produced outside of the U.S., which gives it an additional advantage in a situation of a potential union strife like the current one.
La Brea, which received a straight-to-series order after production on its 2020 pilot was derailed by the pandemic, had a solid launch in fall 2021 with a 10-episode first season, earning a 14-episode second season renewal. Like many high-concept shows, its ratings eventually tapered off. Season 2B resumes tonight with back-to-back episodes at on NBC and next day on Peacock.
La Brea follows an epic family adventure after a massive sinkhole opens in Los Angeles pulling people and buildings into a mysterious and dangerous primeval land where they have no choice but to band together to survive.
The cast includes Natalie Zea, Eoin Macken, Jon Seda, Nicholas Gonzalez, Chiké Okonkwo, Zyra Gorecki, Jack Martin, Veronica St. Clair, Rohan Mirchandaney, Lily Santiago, Josh McKenzie, Tonantzin Carmelo and Michelle Vergara Moore.
Creator/showrunner David Appelbaum executive produces with Avi Nir, Alon Shtruzman, Peter Traugott, Rachel Kaplan, Chris Hollier, Adam Davidson, Bryan Wynbrandt, Steven Lilien, Ken Woodruff and Arika Lisanne Mittman. La Brea is produced by Universal Television and Australia’s Matchbox Pictures, both divisions of Universal Studio Group, in association with Keshet Studios.