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Hollywood Writers Are On Strike

Hollywood Writers Are On Strike

Updated: Hollywood writers are on strike.

Six weeks of talks between the writers union (Writers Guild of America) and eight negotiating studios (Netflix, Amazon, Apple, Disney-ABC, NBC Universal, Paramount-CBS, Warner Bros Discovery, Sony) ended last night and the writers voted unanimously to call a strike as their three-year contract expired.

Demonstrations are planned this afternoon at studios and events in New York and Los Angeles.

For a WGA Strike primer see Deadline: Hollywood.

What are the issues?

Driven in large part by the shift to streaming, writers are finding their work devalued in every part of the business. While company profits have remained high and spending on content has grown, writers are falling behind. The companies have used the transition to streaming to cut writer pay and separate writing from production, worsening working conditions for series writers at all levels. — WGA statement..

Writers say the big push into streaming services has turned full-time careers into a “gig economy”. Writers could work on a 20+ episodes show for almost a year in the golden era of network television. Now episode orders are half that or less. And there is no upside if the show is a streaming success because streamers won’t share data about viewership and streamer residuals are fixed not viewership-based. Put that all together and writers are earning less despite the boom in content.

Uber writer/producer Greg Berlanti picketing.

Artificial Intelligence:

Writers want to prevent the studios and streamers from replacing them with A.I. , and demand that their work not be used to train machines to write scripts

Where’s the respect?

The Shield put FX on the map. Mad Men put AMC on the map. House of Cards put Netflix on the map. Writers did that. Not some CEO. Know what you get when you put CEOs in creative lanes? You get Quibi. — FX’s Snowfall writer-producer Sal Calleros..

It’s been 15 years since the last American Writers Strike which lasted over three months between 2007 and 2008.

Matt Belloni said on his Hollywood podcast The Town that the current strike could last until September.

Late night talk shows will shut down today and air reruns. Saturday Night Live may shut down today, too. All writers rooms will shut down and any big-screen or small-screen project that doesn’t have finished scripts will be in limbo. And if the strike goes on, network Fall TV seasons could be in jeopardy.

Update: The Yellowjackets season 3 writers room shut down after one day to go on strike today.

In anticipation of the strike, NBC made some moves. Its new show The Irrational started filming season one early this Spring in Vancouver instead of in the summer and Night Court and Quantum Leap in Los Angeles and La Brea in Australia stayed in production this Spring, after wrapping the current seasons, so that the network would have new shortened seasons to air in the Fall.

Other Guilds:

The Writers Guild of Canada, the Writers Guild of Australia and the Writers Guild of Great Britain are all supporting the WGA strike.

The compensation issues raised by WGA writers are the same concerns affecting writers around the world — WGC in a statement.

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