Despite looming uncertainty about the testing system for British Columbia-based productions, the Warner Bros. Television shows “Batwoman,” “Riverdale” and “Maid” will resume shooting on Wednesday, having been cleared to restart.
The shows — along with CBS TV’s “Nancy Drew” and “Charmed,” and several Disney shows — were forced to stop filming last week due to delays in processing COVID-19 tests in British Columbia, where a single lab company, LifeLabs, is approved to oversee coronavirus testing for U.S.-based productions. Those shows have all started up again.
WBTV’s “The Flash,” “Supergirl” and “DC’s Legends of Tomorrow” were supposed to begin filming last week in Vancouver, but are still on pause for now. The company’s “Superman and Lois” and “Kung Fu” aim to begin fiming next week, and are still on track to do so — but because of the questions about how much volume the testing system can take, they might not.
Tests are performed three times a week, and sources tell Variety that the production shutdowns could happen again if the testing glut causes a show to not get results for the cast and crew back in time. The studios have lost millions of dollars by keeping these shows idle — losses that insurance does not cover.
Disney’s “A Million Little Things” (ABC) and “The Mighty Ducks” (Disney Plus) had also paused for a few days last week, but were back up by the week’s end. The company’s “Big Sky” (ABC), “Turner & Hooch” (Disney Plus) and “Mysterious Benedict Society” (Hulu) faced longer delays in getting their tests processed, but went back into production on Monday. ABC’s “The Good Doctor,” a Sony production, has not yet been affected by this issue.
In British Columbia, coronavirus has been contained ably, which is why the province opened up for shooting in June. With that success in mind, one Vancouver producer expressed frustration to Variety about U.S.-based studios ignoring what has worked well in the province: “The government here said don’t do asymptomatic testing. They came and did it anyway. It predictably didn’t work, because our government, who has been successful in fighting the virus, is prioritizing the testing they deem medically necessary.”
The studios, meanwhile, have been trying to work with the lab — and are possibly seeking back-up labs — to avoid future backlogs.