EXCLUSIVE: Unpaid crew members on The Mediator will be paid in full by Tuesday, vowed Andre Jetmir, the show’s creator. He told Deadline that 11 members of the crew have yet to be paid in full because of cost overruns attributed to shooting during the pandemic. “Covid just destroyed the budget completely,” he said. “It was absolutely brutal.”
Twenty episodes of the show, which features Ice-T in a court-like setting resolving the real-life disputes of feuding guests, aired on Fox-owned stations around the country. The show’s first season wrapped in February.
“I haven’t been paid either, so you can put me down on the list too,” Jetmir said, noting that he hopes that, now that the budget problems have been resolved with a new line of financing, the crew and the show will return for a second season. “We closed funding two days ago to pay everybody,” he said, adding that the show is a “Black independent production” – not a Fox show. “Fox didn’t pay a nickel for the show. I’m not blaming Fox. I own the copyright. We hope to do more episodes.” He also noted that “we have an offer” to do more shows.
In a letter sent Friday to “all parties involved,” Jetmir wrote that “As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, production costs have been wildly unstable. For us at The Mediator, our amazing cast and crew’s health were and continue to be paramount. For this reason, we went over budget. It was not our intention to make anyone feel less than stellar by delaying payments while we as independent producers raise more capital. Though this is not a studio show we take our commitment(s) to our crew seriously – as if they are our own family because they are. As the rights holder and executive producer, the buck stops with me. I apologize for those that feel less than important. And though the journey was not an easy one, we can’t thank you enough for your patience and understanding. You deserve better and we will do better should we be lucky enough to have you back.”
“Being a “Covid show’ was a new experience for us,” his letter continued. “And though we may have been overly ambitious, everyone in the crew will receive full compensation for their work if they have not already. At the time of this letter, payroll was still being distributed. I’m told a round went out last night and the last round goes out midnight Tuesday, June 15. Should anyone have any questions, comments or you simply want to share your feelings, please feel free to call me. We hope everyone continues to be safe and healthy.”
“I love the crew,” he told Deadline. “The people were wonderful.”
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