NBC medical drama “New Amsterdam” has decided to postpone airing an upcoming episode that would've focused on a fictional deadly flu pandemic in New York City.
Deadline reported that the series, created by David Schulner, had already shot an episode titled “Pandemic,” later renamed “Our Doors Are Always Open”. Schulner supported the network's decision and provided a short essay to Deadline about the episode's postponement, where he stressed that the “world needs a lot less fiction right now, and a lot more facts.”
“During a bad year, influenza can kill up to 80,000 Americans,” Schulner said in his letter. “We wanted to get this message out. And the best way to do that was to scare you so bad you'd be washing your hands during the commercial breaks. We showed what happens when our hospital has to erect tents in the parking lot because every bed is taken. When the doctors and nurses and medical techs have been working back to back shifts because their replacements are sick. When panic sets in. When people are quarantined. When people die. Sometimes, what the mirror reflects back is too horrifying to look at.”
Schulner also noted that members of the series' cast and crew had become sick, including Daniel Dae Kim, who Schulner said tested positive for the coronavirus several days after production was shuttered. All four of the show's infected individuals are recovering, according to Schulner. He added that while many consumers have become more interested in pandemic-related films such as “Contagion” — whose medical consultant tested positive for the coronavirus earlier this week — the episode's New York location mirrored the state's real-world coronavirus crisis too closely for comfort.
New York City has become the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in the United States, with more than 17,000 cases and 200 deaths since March 1. Business Insider reported that 2,500 new cases were reported on Tuesday, with another 2,300 reported Wednesday morning. The city accounts for nearly a third of the nation's coronavirus cases.
“Our Doors Are Always Open” will air at a later date, though a specific date has not been determined. “New Amsterdam” has already been renewed for three additional seasons.
“New Amsterdam” is one of numerous television shows that has been impacted by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. IndieWire is keeping track of all of the entertainment industry's productions and events that have been impacted by the outbreak.
Comcast has also committed $500 million to support employees impacted by the pandemic.
NBCUniversal and other parts of the Comcast family on Wednesday internally unveiled measures to support employees and others impacted by the novel coronavirus pandemic.
Top executives, including Comcast chairman and CEO Brian Roberts, CFO Mike Cavanagh, Comcast Cable CEO Dave Watson, NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Shell and Sky CEO Jeremy Darroch, are donating their salaries to charities engaged in coronavirus relief until the virus crisis passes.
Roberts, in a memo obtained by THR, also said that Comcast was committing $500 million to help staff with pay and benefits if their business units have been shut down due to the pandemic.
"Across our businesses, we have committed $500 million to support our employees through continued pay and benefits where operations have been paused or impacted, and we have committed significant resources to support our customers," Roberts wrote. "Additionally, effective today, and for the duration of this situation, our senior leaders, Mike Cavanagh, Dave Watson, Jeff Shell, Jeremy Darroch and I have chosen to donate 100 percent of our salaries to charities that support COVID-19 relief efforts," Roberts wrote.
Roberts' 2018 salary came to $3.2 million, while CFO Cavanagh's salary was $1.95 million that year and then-NBCUniversal CEO Stephen Burke took home a salary of $2.96 million in 2018. Comcast has yet to announce its executive compensation for 2019.
Roberts, his wife Aileen and their family previously said they were donating $5 million for the Philadelphia public school system to buy laptops for students doing online learning as local schools closed down during the coronavirus crisis.
Comcast is the latest media and entertainment company to unveil that top executives were forging their salaries amid the virus crisis, following the likes of the Walt Disney Co.
Read Comcast chairman and CEO Roberts' full memo to Comcast staff below:
As our world changes by the minute with the new reality that COVID-19 brings, I continue to be amazed and inspired by our people and the human spirit at Comcast, NBCUniversal and Sky. This is obviously an incredibly difficult time for our society. None of us has ever experienced anything like this before, and while it is easy to get mired in the many challenges we are all facing, I think that in uncertain times like these it is incumbent upon us to remain optimistic and look for the good, even if it can be elusive.
One of the bright spots for me has been watching our employees on the frontlines go above and beyond. Our Comcast and Sky engineers, technicians and call center representatives are working around the clock to keep our network running and make sure our customers maintain their vital internet connectivity. Our NBC and Sky news organizations are keeping our world informed — setting up remote...