The group of survivors currently surviving in a pre-historic Los Angeles on NBC's sci-fi drama La Brea may not be fighting for much longer. After the network handed out a Season 3 renewal on Tuesday, new reports suggest that La Brea could be ending with a shortened third and final season, with a Season 4 renewal unlikely.
Deadline reported Tuesday that NBC's decision to renew La Brea was largely influenced by the possibility of a writers' and/or directors' and actors' strike, which is expected to occur as the current WGA contract expires May 1 and the DGA and SAG-AFTRA contracts end on June 30. The contract expirations could lead to a strike and worker shortage, which would impact the start of production on the new broadcast season, leaving networks without new episodes of scripted series for the beginning of fall. Due to this, it is believed that many series considered to be bubble shows – those whose future remains in limbo – will have increased chances of renewals, as new episodes could be written and possibly produced before a potential strike.
This seems to be the case for La Brea, with Deadline reporting that NBC reportedly approached the cast regarding a shortened third season. Although series regulars have a 10-episode minimum guarantee, meaning they must be paid at least 10 episodic fees a season, NBC and sister studio Universal Television, with the possible strike in mind, asked the cast to reduce their contractual minimum guarantees to six episodes, sources told the outlet. The cast was offered a release from the show after Season 3, making them available to take other jobs, something that is unusual given that the typical broadcast series regular contract is for six seasons. Deadline's sources told the outlet that the actors accepted the offer.
This means that after Season 3, which Deadline heard will only consist of six episodes, the La Brea cast will be able to move on to other projects. This could possibly signal the end of the series, with a Season 4 renewal, while possible, seeming unlikely. At this time, NBC has not commented on the future of the series past Season 3, which was greenlit Tuesday, though few details regarding the season were given.
Debuting in 2021, La Brea follows a group of Los Angelinos who disappear when a massive sinkhole opens at the site of the La Brea Tar Pits and Wilshire Boulevard, trapping the survivors n a mysterious and dangerous primeval land where they must band together to survive. The show was created by David Appelbau and features an ensemble cast that includes Natalie Zea, Eoin Macken, Chike Okonkwo, Zyra Gorecki, Jack Martin, Veronica St. Clair, Rohan Michrandaney, Lily Santiago, Chloe De Los Santos, Michelle Vergara Moore, Jon Seda, Josh McKenzie, Nicholas Gonzalez, and Tonantzin Carmelo. Throughout the first half of its 14-episode second season, La Brea has averaged 5.4 million total weekly viewers and a 0.6 demo rating. The series ranks No. 7 among all NBC dramas, per TVLine.