Ted Lasso, Jason Sudeikis Drama, Production Delays: Report
Jason Sudeikis at this year’s Emmys, where his show Ted Lasso was showered with honors.
Photo: Allen Berezovsky/Getty Images
Ted Lasso isn’t so perfect, either. New reports from Puck suggest that the show’s star writer and creator Jason Sudeikis is holding up production. The inspirational sitcom has been in the works for nearly a year — a prolonged amount of time considering season three will consist of around 12 episodes — and sources say they haven’t yet seen the light at the end of the tunnel. Apparently, Sudeikis’s perfectionism and inability to sign off on scripts has left the production in a cycle of rewrites (what would Ted Lasso say of this behavior, Sudeikis?). Though the writers’ room began work in September 2021, significant changes to the scripts delayed filming until March of this year, with shifting character arcs and other changes bleeding into April. Complicating matters were location shoots that added weeks to the schedule, including a scene at the Chelsea Football Club’s stadium being frozen for some time after the club’s Russian oligarch owner was forced to sell the team over his country’s invasion of Ukraine. It goes from worse to worser: The sitcom requires additional postproduction to digitally render the stadiums, so editing takes a while. Season three is between 20 and 30 percent over budget and counting, one source estimates. Vulture has reached out to Sudeikis & Co. for comment.
While rewrites are not uncommon, there are money issues and people problems, too, allegedly. As for the former: A streaming-driven “cost plus” model has led Apple TV+ and Warner Bros. to tussle over who pays budget overages. Essentially, Apple TV+ distributes the Warner-produced and -managed show, paying the studio for production costs up front plus a premium that is the percentage of the budget. With an over-budget show under this model, the two companies have to negotiate who’s footing the bill once the season is wrapped. Complicated moneyspeak aside, cast members are also reportedly suffering under the delays and cannot work on other projects until they finish Lasso. Plus, some of them could be getting paid more, even after a contract season-two renegotiation with Warner. Currently, the salary floor for Ted Lasso is $150,000 per episode, sources say (which led some to share their gripes with Apple). Amidst the ongoing production struggles, the feel-good comedy took home a total of four Primetime Emmys on September 12 that included the biggest honors of the night: Best Comedy and Best Lead Actor for Sudeikis. Still, looks like on-set drama is really making its rounds this year.