AppleTV+’s Ted Lasso did well at this week’s Emmys, where the series was nominated 20 times and won four awards: outstanding comedy series, outstanding lead actor in a comedy series, outstanding supporting actor in a comedy series, and outstanding directing for a comedy series. But there are now questions being raised about what’s ahead with its forthcoming third (and reportedly final) season.
Series star Jason Sudeikis sparked some raised eyebrows with his “We’ll see you for Season 3, at some point” line in an acceptance speech at those Emmys. And Matthew Belloni of Puck cited that in a piece Friday discussing the third season’s lack of premiere date, lengthy shooting and production times, and budget on why there’s yet no premiere date for the third season. Here’s more from that piece, titled “What the Hell Is Happening with Ted Lasso?”
On the street outside the Emmys on Monday, I caught up with a veteran TV studio executive who was amused by the final line in Jason Sudeikis’s acceptance speech for Ted Lasso. “We’ll see you for Season 3, at some point,” Sudeikis said, likely prompting some nervous laughter among executives at Apple TV+ and Warner Bros. Television. Yes, the next and supposedly final season of the two-time best comedy series will eventually be finished—it’s the “at some point” that has caused concern and frustration among those on and around the show. When, exactly? And at what cost to the studio and the creatives? “You never want to hear ‘at some point,’” this executive joked.
So far, it’s taken about a year to make 12 episodes of a sitcom—albeit a very labor-intensive sitcom—and there’s no finish line in sight. Lasso Season 3, the first with Sudeikis firmly in charge alongside co-creators Brendan Hunt and Joe Kelly, opened a writers room last September, and the cast arrived in London in early January. But Sudeikis personally decided the scripts needed a significant rewrite, according to multiple sources.
Belloni goes on to talk about how the rewrites delayed much of the shooting until March, expensive with that cast already on location from January, and how some of it carried over into April. Some changes weren’t necessarily the show’s fault, with a scene at Chelsea’s Stamford Bridge stadium paused thanks to the real-life Russian invasion of Ukraine that led to owner Roman Abramovich being forced to sell the team, but the sum total here has led to the season being an estimated 20 to 30 percent over budget, with significant post-production still ahead.
And, as Belloni adds, those budget overruns are even more complicated than usual thanks to the show’s model. That model has Warner Bros. Discovery producing and managing the show, with AppleTV+ distributing it. Apple pays both some costs up front and then a percentage of the overall budget, but an over-budget show requires further talks on who will pay what portion of that. So this will be an interesting storyline to follow, especially around when the S3 premiere date actually gets announced.