Writer’s strike could last long, affect fall schedule

Problems with streaming, residuals at issue as business landscape changes

Clyde Butler, Staff Writer

“Stranger Things,” “The Tonight Show,” “Andor,” and many other shows are being put on hold due to the recent Writer’s Guild of America strike. With all this occurring, what does this mean for streaming and television as a whole?

According to a report from WGA, the median weekly writer-producer pay has declined 23 percent over the last decade. This extreme pay drop, along with a higher demand for work hours, has caused many writers of the major studios to implore their higher-ups for change.

The rise of streaming could be to blame for a lot of the problems for writers. Absurd deadlines are created for overworked writers and producers who have no choice but to keep up with the busy schedule of a streaming service. Along with the aforementioned pay drop, the conditions and schedule of these writers has substantially gotten worse.

However, in early May of this year, when talks between the Writers Guild of America and some major studios fell apart, the writers decided to take it a step further and began to picket outside the same studios.

All these writers were asking for, were higher pay and a stable pay structure, as well as fairer deals and contracts and provisions about artificial intelligence

Though, it is not all terrible for the overworked writers and producers. Some big names and faces have joined in on the picketing. These names include Tina Fey, Seth Meyers, Pete Davidson, Cynthia Nixon, Bob Odenkirk, and many others.

What does this mean for consumers? Well it depends on the venue or type of content, but most experts would estimate that it may impact television for as long as this year’s fall television shows.

Many ongoing shows have been spared from the protests, as many have wrapped up the writing process. However the shows that will begin or premiere as early as September will be postponed due to their writing processes beginning in May/June of each year.

The Writers Guild and related unions estimate that the proposals on the table will cost them roughly 429 million per year, to compensate for the sheer number of writers and producers involved in the industry. According to DEADLINE NEWS, approximately 343 million of this can be attributed to the top eight industries.

These major companies are not the only ones losing massive amounts of money due to the picketing, the state of California’s economy is also losing around $30 million each day. To reflect on the 2007-2006 writer’s protests, the state of California lost roughly 2.1 billion dollars in total revenue during the strike. This depicts that the longevity of these protests could be longer than expected.

Still, according to the Hollywood reporter, four out of the five major television studios are putting out the potential and planned schedule of what is going to be televised. Studios such as CBS and NBC are not stopping just because of the writer’s shortage, apparently expecting the protests to be short. Meanwhile, the American Broadcasting Company, is noted to fully acknowledge the protests and expects an absence of scripted shows in the fall.

The 10,000-to-12,000 members of the Writers Guild versus the nation’s most wealthy entertainment studios. Will the studios continue to struggle and eventually concede to the many writers and producers, or will the writers fall first? Only time will tell for the future of our entertainment industry.