Another Writers’ Strike looming in US

Another possible Writers’ Strike is gathering momentum in the US, a decade after the last disastrous strike of 2007.

The Writers Guild of America argues that an era of record profitability for studios has largely left writers behind.

In a recent letter to members, the WGA West said that the average pay of TV writer-producers fell by 23% in the last two years, while entertainment companies experienced a record $51 billion in profits in 2016. The WGA wants a 3% increase in script fees for the lowest-paid writers, bigger residuals from streaming media, and a 1.5% increase in employer contributions to the guild’s health plan.

Around 12,000 WGA members will begin voting on whether to authorise a walkout. If members approve a strike, as they almost certainly will, and no pact with studios has been reached by May 1, fingers will stop typing and picketing will begin the next day.

The NY Times notes late-night comedy shows would instantly revert to reruns if a strike began. Summer reality shows, such as Big Brother, would arrive — the writer-producers who work on them have a different contract — but some scripted series scheduled for the fall would most likely be delayed. A strike could be a death knell for daytime soap operas, which rely on a new episode almost every weekday, unless producers bring in nonunion writers, which happened during the last strike.

The Writers Guild walked out for 100 days in 2007-8 and 155 days in 1988.

10 Comments:

  1. Wasn’t the first season of The Big Bang Theory also cut short because of the strike?

    I guess this late in the season many shows will have already wrapped for the summer break but its the new show and summer shows most affected this time around.

    Hope they sort things out again, last thing we need is more reality crap!

  2. So if this causes TEN problems due to their US shows like NCIS, SVU, Blue Bloods, Hawaii Five-0, MacGyver, Scorpion, Madam Secretary and etc. Does that mean they will bring back Good News Week and invest in more Australian shows like they did last time, if so please bring back Thank God You’re Here TEN (Seven did nothing with it).

  3. Considering that billions are being invested by relative newcomers Netflix and Amazon into independent productions this strike sounds very convenient. The one thing that is becoming clearer though is that the death of television studios due to pirating are over rated if the profits mentioned above are true.

  4. The biggest risk out of a WGA strike post May 2, would be the potential impact on US networks fall schedules: remember, US network upfronts (inc. NBC, CBS, US ABC, Fox and CW broadcast networks) are coming mid-May. The last time a fall schedule was affected by a writers stoppage, was in 1988 (production of scripted product took a while to resume after the end of the strike in August 1988, while the 2007/08 strike started just before the November “sweeps” period, with some shows already in the can).

    Australia isn’t as reliant today on premium US content on their main FTA channels as it was in 2007/08. However, the various multichannels (as well as Foxtel, possibly Netflix/Stan) who do rely on fast-tracked US content will be in for a major shock, if any WGA strike goes into mid-August or beyond.

  5. I hope this doesn’t happen again, we lost so many good shows because of this in 2007. It was either a new show which didn’t get enough episodes to help get a renewal, or final season shows not getting the send off they deserved.

  6. My pay has gone down by 23% so I want a 3% pay rise. I’m a writer not a mathemagician. Inexplicably, “Lisa needs braces” and “purple submersible” come to mind.

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