Hollywood’s Big Challenge: Resuming Production in a Pandemic (Listen)

Ken Basin Paramount Television

Could show business be getting … nicer?

Believe it or not, yes, according to Ken Basin. The pandemic has fostered a kinder culture conducive to the kind of dealmaking he’s involved in as head of business affairs at Paramount TV Studios. Getting production back on line has demanded studios, networks and unions working closer than ever to hammer out the details.

“I think it’s really been a healthy environment where people have kind of brought their best selves to the negotiations and tried to approach things in a way that’s solution-oriented rather than adversarial in a negotiation climate that is sometimes particularly adversarial,” said Basin on the latest episode of the Variety podcast “Strictly Business.”

Listen to the podcast here:

In addition to elaborating on the complexities inherent in crafting return-to-work rules, Basin talks about how Hollywood is stepping up its efforts to be more inclusive in light of the Black Lives Matter movement. “I think the moment demands real action and not just platitudes, so every company is going through introspection about where we’re at,” he said.

Basin, who is also author of the 2018 book “The Business of Television,” also addresses the potential impact COVID-19 could have on how the streaming wars play out and how ViacomCBS is approaching its own upcoming entry into this crowded field of competitors.

The conversation marked Basin’s second visit to “Strictly Business,” having first appeared in the summer of 2018.

Strictly Business” is Variety’s weekly podcast featuring conversations with industry leaders about the business of media and entertainment. A new episode debuts each Wednesday and can be downloaded on iTunes, Spotify, Google Play, Stitcher and SoundCloud.