“Abbott Elementary” creator/star Quinta Brunson and fellow exec producers Justin Halpern, Patrick Schumacker and Randall Einhorn, as well as producer Scott Sites, have launched a strike fund to help support the Emmy-winning comedy show’s crew.
The producers and some of the cast of “Abbott” created the fund to supplement the Entertainment Community Fund, which has been working to provide financial assistance for industry workers amid the ongoing WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes. While Brunson and the producers have individually donated to the ECF, they also wanted to find a way to specifically aid their show’s 152-person crew, so they pooled their resources as an additional safeguard.
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News of the fund comes as the writers strike drags closer to the five-month mark, while the actors began their strike in mid-July. Variety also learned that Brunson — who won an Emmy for writing the show’s pilot and stars on the show — had her multi-year overall deal with Warner Bros. Television Group suspended in May, at the beginning of the strike, alongside the other producers’ deals. (Warner Bros. Television produces the ABC show in association with 20th Television.)
Since then, Brunson, “Abbott Elementary” writers (including Halpern, who’s a WGA board member) and cast — including Sheryl Lee Ralph and Lisa Ann Walter (both of whom serve on SAG-AFTRA’s negotiating committee) — have been active on picket lines and at rallies across the country in pursuit of a fair deal with the AMPTP.
“Actors started sharing their residuals and now people can see just how bad it really is,” Brunson told the Associated Press in July while marching in front of Warner Bros. in Burbank, Calif., where “Abbott Elementary” is shot. “The unions striking at the same time, it’s making the world more aware; it’s putting more pressure on studios and networks … It’s a good thing.”
Over the course of its two-season run, “Abbott Elementary” has become one of the most highly-rated and critically-acclaimed shows on TV. ABC renewed the comedy for a third season in January, but with production halted amid the strikes, there’s no timetable for when the series might return. “Abbott” is nominated for an Emmy in outstanding comedy this year, as well as lead comedy actress (Brunson), supporting comedy actress (Janelle James and Sheryl Lee Ralph), supporting comedy actor (Tyler James Williams), guest comedy actress (Taraji P. Henson), contemporary hairstyling and casting for a comedy series.
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