Hulu Comedy ‘Woke’ Shuts Down a Third Time Due to Positive COVID Cases

The Hulu comedy “Woke,” which was shut down twice last week because of positive COVID-19 tests, has now been shut down a third time. “Woke” had gone back into production on Monday, but on Wednesday, there were three more positive tests — two of which were in Zone A. In COVID protocols, Zone A comprises those present on set when the actors aren’t wearing masks, and the actors themselves.

Production on the show, a co-production of Sony and ABC Studios, has been suspended indefinitely.

“Woke” began filming in Atlanta in June. Last week, a source working on the show told Variety that its COVID protocols have been “less than stellar — and porous.” This person said that the shorter days mandated by the new rules have been ignored on “Woke,” and the source had worked several 14-hour days.

On Thursday, the source said of the show’s eight-episode second season, only two episodes have been fully shot. Before the production stoppages began happening last week, the final day of shooting was supposed to be this week. Then, because of those delays, the end-date was been pushed a week. Now it’s unclear when the show might resume filming at all.

“Actors are being put on flights home,” the source said.

Representatives from Sony, Disney and Hulu did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

On “Woke,” Lamorne Morris stars as Black cartoonist who prides himself on being apolitical until he has a traumatic experience of being racially profiled by the police, which changes him and his art.

The latest “Woke” shutdown comes as Hollywood studios are grappling with how to do business during the pandemic, which was ebbing until the Delta variant and vaccine-deniers gained the upper hand. There’s been a raft of shows forced to stop production recently, including the high-profile Paramount Plus limited series “The Offer,” about the making of “The Godfather,” as well as “American Horror Story,” “Westworld,” “Bridgerton” and “House of the Dragon.”

Yesterday, Netflix said that the company will require all those production personnel in Zone A in the U.S. to be vaccinated, in accordance with the recent agreement between the studios and the unions. And last week, Sean Penn threw down the gauntlet on “Gaslit,” and said he wouldn’t return to the show’s production unless the entire cast and crew is vaccinated.

So far, the vaccination policies appear to be piecemeal. While Variety has learned that the Sony production “The Goldbergs” is requiring those in Zone A to be vaccinated, a source close to the studio says it’s mandating them on a case-by-case basis.

Clearly, they were not yet required on “Woke” — the source on the show said the two positive Zone A cases were both unvaccinated people.

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