Hollywood writers go on strike
Discussions for a labor agreement with Hollywood studios came to a stalemate, prompting the Writers Guild of America to call for the first strike in 15 years.
Before their current contract's expiration on Monday, discussions for a labor agreement with Hollywood studios came to a stalemate, prompting the Writers Guild of America (WGA) to call for the first strike in 15 years.
Hollywood's already-messy shift to the streaming era is in danger of failing due to the labor stoppage.
Writers will join the picket line at 12:01 a.m. local time on Tuesday to start the strike. All WGA members may conduct other tasks like producing or directing at that period, but they must immediately stop all writing tasks.
The majority of broadcast television programs will be between seasons due to the time of year. However, a strike that lasts well into the summer would cause delays for the 2023–24 campaign.
Production of daytime and late-night television programs will also stop.
Film studios and streaming services are initially less impacted because they create their content well in advance.
Streaming platforms upended traditional Hollywood
Traditional Hollywood financial models have been upended by the streaming era, and writers believe they have been excluded from the "peak TV" content explosion.
Less episodes are ordered every season and more series are finishing early on streaming platforms than on broadcast and cable TV, which once dominated the TV landscape. Additionally, streaming shows' residuals are much lower than what writers would receive through TV syndication agreements.
Writers are also worried that studios would attempt to replace part of their job with machines due to the rapid development of AI.
The last WGA strike was in 2007 and lasted 100 days.
WGA announced on Monday that "the companies' behavior has created a gig economy inside a union workforce, and their immovable stance in this negotiation has betrayed a commitment to further devaluing the profession of writing."
The Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, which is the organization that speaks for the big studios and production businesses, said that their most recent plan offered "generous increases in compensation" and increases in streaming residuals — and that it was willing to make it even better.
In its own statement, the AMPTP explained that its member companies are united in their decision until they "desire to reach a deal that is mutually beneficial to writers and the health and longevity of the industry, and to avoid hardship to the thousands of employees who depend upon the industry for their livelihoods."
For many of the largest media firms, including Comcast, Disney, and Warner Bros. Discovery, the strike occurs before upfront pitches to advertisers.
The strike takes place just before upfront presentations to advertisers for several of the biggest media companies, including Comcast, Disney, and Warner Bros. Discovery.