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Hollywood writers to strike – and it could impact TV shows and films

For the first time since 15 years, television and movie writers have gone on strike over a dispute about fair pay in an era of streaming.

Writers Guild of America’s (WGA) 11,500 screenwriters who are unionised will be on the picket line Tuesday.

The studios and writers failed to agree on a new deal before the current contract expired. Negotiations began in March.

The guild has informed its members that all scriptwriting must cease immediately.


Depending on how long this strike continues, it could affect TV and film productions.

Image: President Joe Biden in Jimmy Kimmel Live, last year

Jimmy Kimmel Live, The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon and other late-night US talk show are expected to stop airing new episodes and go dark.

The daytime soap operas could also be affected, as they are usually written not long after they are filmed.

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The seasons of primetime dramas and comedies currently airing should be able finish without interruption – the episodes for the upcoming weeks have been already written and filmed.

Netflix which produces shows all over the world has stated that it can feed the service with shows made outside of the United States. However, its US-based shows will be affected by a prolonged strike.

The WGA board of directors, which includes both an East and a West branch, unanimously voted to call a strike.

The WGA stated that “the companies’ behavior has created a Gig Economy within a unionized workforce and their inflexible stance during this negotiation has revealed a commitment to further undervalue the profession of writing.”

The refusal of the network to guarantee any weekly level of employment for episodic television to the creation of the ‘day rate” in comedy variety to their obstructionism on the issue of free work for writers and AI for all of them, they have shut the door for their workforce and opened it to writing as a completely freelance profession.

This membership would never consider such a deal.

The Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, the trade association that negotiates on behalf of production companies and studios, has said that negotiations have failed to reach an agreement prior to the expiration of the current contract.

The AMPTP stated in a press release that it was willing to improve its proposal, but was unwilling to because the Guild continues to insist on other proposals.

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The writers say that they have suffered financial losses during the boom in streaming television, due to shorter seasons.

Remainder payments

The workers are demanding pay increases and changes in industry practices that they claim force them to do more work for less money.

Guild statistics show that half of TV writers earn minimum salaries, up from one third in 2013-14.

Artificial intelligence is also a topic at the bargaining tables. The WGA is seeking safeguards that prevent studios using AI to create new scripts based on writers’ previous work.

The WGA’s last strike in 2007 and 2008 lasted for 100 days. The strike cost California’s economy $2.1bn (1.68bn PS) due to productions being shut down, and writers, actors and producer who were out of work cutting back on spending.


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