Ice-T Reality Series Addresses Unpaid Crew Members Situation

When Ice-T was not solving fictional crimes on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, he helped real people solve disputes in The Mediator with Ice-T earlier this year. There were only 11 crew members on the show, which debuted on Fox-owned stations, but none of them were paid. In an interview with Deadline on Friday, creator Andre Jetmir vowed to have the situation fixed by Tuesday, June 15.

Jetmir said the crew was never paid in full because of cost overruns thanks to the coronavirus pandemic. "COVID just destroyed the budget completely," he told the outlet. "It was absolutely brutal." The creator said he was not paid either, but the production secured new financing and he is sure there will be a second season. "We closed funding two days ago to pay everybody," he explained, adding that the series is a "Black independent production." He didn't blame Fox for the situation, adding that he owns the copyright. Jetmir added that there was an "offer" to make more episodes.

The Mediator featured Ice-T in a court-like setting, helping feuding guests solve their real disputes. The rapper is not dressed as a judge though, and the first season was filmed virtually. Participants needed to apply for mediation through The Mediator app. Each episode began with Ice-T hearing from both sides of the dispute, then he would offer his suggestion on how they should move forward. If they accepted his idea, the case would be settled. If not, they would go to court.

The half-hour, weekday show aired on Fox-owned stations across the country, starting in March. Filming wrapped in February. "I love the crew," Jetmir told Deadline. "The people were wonderful."

Jetmir also sent a letter to the "parties involved" in making the series to explain why paychecks were delayed and apologizing for the situation. "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," Jetmir wrote. "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."

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Even if The Mediator doesn't end up getting a second season, Ice-T isn't leaving your television set anytime soon. He stars as Det. Odafin "Fin" Tutuola on NBC's Law & Order: SVU, which will be back for a 23rd season in the fall. He also made cameos in the spin-off Law & Order: Organized Crime, which is returning as well. Earlier this year, he surprisingly won a Grammy for Best Metal Performance for "Bum-Rush."