A writers’ strike in Hollywood is underway, and it’s altering the future of television and movies as we know them. Earlier this year, negotiations between the Writers Guild of America (WGA) and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) led the WGA to vote yes to authorize a strike on May 1 (by a record margin of 97.85 percent), which immediately took effect the next day as no deal was reached on his next three-year contract.
According to Variety, the strike call is the result of the WGA seeking changes to writers’ compensation and working conditions in Hollywood, including a “significant increase in minimums, a better formula for residuals on writing platforms, transmission and a minimum staffing requirement for all television programmes. shows.” Several writers also told POPSUGAR that the strike’s “existential struggle” largely revolves around the lucrative streaming boom, from which they have yet to reap the benefits.
“We’re on food stamps. We’re unemployed, moving back in with our parents. Shit ain’t sweet right now,” said TV writer Kyra Jones, who has credits on Hulu’s “Woke” and ABC’s “Queens.” “(This field) is really, really unsustainable, and the tipping point is why we’re on strike.”
On May 2, the Writers Guild of America West Twitter account announced that the strike began after six weeks of negotiations with Netflix, Amazon, Apple, Disney, Warner Bros. Discovery, NBC Universal, Paramount+ and Sony under the AMPTP umbrella. “While our Bargaining Committee began this process with the intent of making a fair deal, the studio responses have been wholly inadequate given the existential crisis writers are facing,” the union said. wrote in another tweet.
Television writer David Slack later tweeted“The Writers Guild has been around for 90 years. We’ve negotiated contracts with studios about every 3 years. Strike or no strike, we’ve made a deal every time. If they could spare us, they would. If they could bust us, they would. No they can. They won’t. #WGAStrong.”
What’s been going on during the writers’ strike, you may ask? Well, writers who are members of the WGA, including their agents or anyone acting on their behalf, are prohibited from writing, filing, or negotiating for work during the strike. The purpose, according to the union, is to guarantee the best possible contract for writers in the future. Picket writers have also been actively shutting down multi-million dollar productions for various TV shows and movies.
Compared to previous strikes, the 2023 writers’ strike is driven by the entertainment industry’s big shift toward streaming content. While TV shows and movies have adapted to the ever-growing technological age, one thing that hasn’t evolved is how studios pay creators. “Companies have used the transition to broadcast to reduce pay for writers and separate writing from production, worsening working conditions for series writers at all levels,” the WGA shared in a March 14 newsletter. . As a result, television writer Danny Tolli told The New York Times, “Writers of all levels and in all genres, whether it’s feature films or television, we are being financially devalued and taken advantage of by the studios.”
So what does all this mean for the future of entertainment? Ahead, find a guide to the writers’ strike 2023 with all your biggest questions answered, plus find out how you can be affected by a looming actors’ strike.
What is a writers strike?
According to Vox, a writers’ strike occurs when members of the WGA, the union to which most employed writers in Hollywood belong, stop working until the organization reaches an agreement with the AMPTP, which negotiates on behalf of all writers. large studios and hundreds of production companies. That is, no member can write or sell new scripts for TV shows or movies until the WGA votes to end the strike. And in most cases, this also means that the writers are left without pay for the duration of the strike.
A writers’ strike not only affects those who creatively contribute to television shows or movies, but also affects those who work in other sectors of the entertainment industry when production is halted, including caterers, decorators, the directors and supporting actors, who then have to find another job in the interim. And it affects those at home, too, as TV shows are delayed or seasons are abruptly cut short.
When was the last writers’ strike?
The last time a writers’ strike of this magnitude occurred was in late 2007, resulting in the seasons of many scripted shows being shortened, some late-night shows forced off the air, and some reality shows being lengthened or extended. they had new seasons, according to Vox. According to The Hollywood Reporter, that strike lasted 100 days, ended on February 12, 2008, and cost $2.1 billion to the Los Angeles economy. The WGA eventually approved a new three-year deal at the time, but streaming wasn’t a big part of that conversation. Today, Hollywood studios still haven’t figured out (and supposedly haven’t been willing to find out) how to factor that residual into what writers earn today.
Why is a writers’ strike happening in 2023?
This year’s writers’ strike was on the air for months, and the Los Angeles Times reported on its potential in February. According to The New York Times, writers are fighting for pay raises while studios argue that a new compensation structure ignores economic realities. At this point, Hollywood writers and companies have not been able to settle their differences, which is why the industry is experiencing its first writers’ strike in 15 years.
What does the Writers Guild of America require?
The main issue the writers are striking over is compensation, which the WGA says has been negatively affected by the recent broadcast acquisition. The writers’ demands also revolve around pay equity, residuals for theatrical and broadcast roles, better pre-production writers’ rooms, increased contributions to the WGA’s pension plan and health fund, and more measures to combat the discrimination and harassment. To see the full list of lawsuits, visit the WGA’s 2023 contract website.
What TV shows have been affected by the 2023 writers’ strike?
After the entry into force of the strike, all shows that produced immediate work were paralyzed. That means late-night talk shows like “Jimmy Kimmel Live!”, “The Tonight Show Starring jimmy fallon“,” The late program with Stephen Colbert“Late Night With Seth Meyers” and “The Daily Show” wrapped up filming on new episodes on May 2, according to Deadline. All except “The Daily Show” are airing reruns until further notice.
“Saturday Night Live” was similarly affected as well, as NBC issued an official statement on May 2 stating, “The previously announced ‘Saturday Night Live’ hosted by Pete Davidson and musical guest Lil Uzi Vert has been canceled due to to the writers’ strike. ‘SNL’ will air reruns until further notice beginning Saturday, May 6.”
Next, broadcast TV shows scheduled to return in the fall are delayed until the strike ends, as they usually start writing in the summer. That means that, unfortunately, the next few seasons are likely to be delayed. Sitcom creator Quinta Brunson reacted to the 2023 Met Gala walkout just hours before it went into effect, telling AP News: “I’m a member of the WGA and I support the WGA, and they get, we We, we, get what we need.”
Unscripted programming such as reality shows, game shows, news, and sports will be largely unaffected for now, as reality TV has increased significantly in fall primetime TV lineups for networks like ABC. . Some streaming content also appears to be safe for now, as its production model lasts longer. That is, most of those projects are produced long before they are distributed on the platforms. Streamers also have huge libraries of content at their disposal, so viewers still have other means of entertainment in the midst of the strike.
Film projects are likely to avoid any major effects of the strike until next year, but some that are currently in the pipeline may be delayed or unable to start filming as the WGA intends not to have its picket lines crossed. But the longer the strike lasts, the more serious problems will arise.
Is a Hollywood actors’ strike happening?
At this time, the Screen Actors Guild – American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) has not yet gone on strike. However, on June 5, the union announced that its members voted 97.91% in favor of a strike authorization ahead of their contract negotiations with the AMPTP, which expire at midnight on June 30. In the event that the two organizations do not reach an agreement like the WGA, the actors, in short, will stop working or promoting any production of which they are a part.
In a statement sent to Deadline, SAG-AFTRA explained: “There is no promotion of striking labor during a strike. Promotional activities in relation to a signatory production are covered by the Basic Agreement and are therefore striking labor. during a strike.” “
According to the outlet, upcoming films due out in July won’t be greatly affected if actors go on strike because millions have already been spent on long-running marketing campaigns for highly anticipated titles like Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling’s “Barbie.” Christopher Nolan’s “Oppenheimer,” and Tom Cruise’s “Mission: Impossible – The Dead Count Part 1.” Deadline also reported, based on conversations with studio executives, that Hollywood studios may risk keeping their release schedules release dates as they are if the actors decide to go on strike for a few months, rather than relying on trailers and TV spots to pitch in front of the talent.That’s not to say, however, that upcoming conventions like Comic-Con San Diego, fall film festivals, award shows, and holiday premieres will not be affected.
Only time will tell what will happen if an actors’ strike begins on July 1.