In the first instalment of his new TBI column, LA-based scripted exec Anthony Kimble, co-CEO and founder of Arrested Industries, reflects on a bracing start to life in the US.

I chose a great time to open a US office. Mass layoffs and cancellations in Hollywood, the writers’ strike planned for early this year, continued mass shootings and the fact that Trump is conspiring to run for president again! There doesn’t appear to be much to celebrate on this side of the pond as we slide into 2023.

As a producer in LA who has been pitching high-end projects over the past six months, it has been quite hair-raising to hear, “we love the material, but we’re not commissioning anything” or “this is unbelievable, but our remit now is broad-based and commercial”. Everyone is incredibly risk averse right now. And, given the swathes of redundancies, it’s highly likely that the team you pitched your show to originally is no longer even in the building.

Whole movies and TV series were scrapped in 2022 – including JJ Abrams’ $200m sci-fi drama Demimonde, once viewed as a jewel in the shiny new Warner Bros. Discovery crown. And there are so many other examples of cancelled shows – not to mention entire streaming services (CNN+). Seriously, if JJ Abrams isn’t safe, no one is. And if the current clarion call is for more commercial series, where do we go to pitch the smart and more cerebral ideas on our slates?

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