Two officials representing popular television programs produced in Louisiana have addressed the state's controversial fetal heartbeat abortion law and if production would continue should it become enforceable.
In an article by Variety, showrunners with NBC's “NCIS: New Orleans” and FOX's "Filthy Rich" had contradictory stances.
“As the show continues production in New Orleans this season, we will monitor developments and wait to see how this plays out in the courts,” said “NCIS: New Orleans” showrunner Christopher Silber. “Should the legislation take effect, it would be unconscionable to me to continue production in a state that enacts a draconian law putting women’s health and rights at risk.”
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The show was renewed in April for a sixth season, which will air in 2019-2020.
Conversely, "Filthy Rich" director Tate Taylor and exec producer John Norris said they intend to "to protect this constitutional right, our choice is to do it through creating jobs and protecting the families that live here.”
"We think both paths lead to the same goal, and respect everyone’s right to choose how they join the fight,” they told Variety.
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In May, Gov. John Bel Edwards signed the so-called fetal heartbeat bill, which would ban abortions after about six weeks of pregnancy and that makes no exceptions for victims of rape and incest.
After the bill was signed, Comcast's NBCUniversal said in a statement that “if any of these laws are upheld, it would strongly impact our decision-making on where we produce our content in the future.” Netflix, Disney and WarnerMedia all have voiced similar sentiments.
Of the companies that have voiced concerns about the law, several are currently filming in the state. Disney is filming "Sulphur Springs" in New Orleans. The upcoming production of "The Purge," Season Two, also filmed in New Orleans, is a production of the USA Network, a division of NBCUniversal, as is the drug-dealer themed drama "Queen of the South," Season Four.
Louisiana Economic Development estimates that the film and television industry generated spending of nearly $460 million in Louisiana last year.
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Reporting by Tony McAuley contributed to this report.