WGA calls strike, halting production on many shows

The Writers Guild of America is on strike, having unsuccessfully reached an agreement with studios before the midnight deadline.

Negotiations went on for months ahead of Monday’s deadline at 11:59 a.m. PDT, with writer wages for streaming shows at the center of the negotiations. The union said they “voted unanimously to call a strike” and will begin picketing Tuesday afternoon.

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The last writers strike began in late 2007 and lasted three months before ending early on in the next year. The Writers Guild of America went on five strikes before then, with the first coming in 1960 and the longest lasting five months in 1988.

The strike will affect numerous Hollywood productions, including late-night shows, scripted series and eventually even movies.

The impact will be most immediate with shows in the late-night and variety categories. Talk shows like “Jimmy Kimmel Live” and “The Tonight Show” require writers to come up with jokes relevant to the daily news cycle, while “Saturday Night Live” and “Last Week Tonight” run on a weekly schedule and also deal with current events.

Scripted series, including weekday soap operas, have scripts written further in advance, but an extended strike could hamper the production schedule as well. The same goes for films, particularly if re-writes become necessary.

The Writers Guild of America West building on March 18, 2020, in Los Angeles.

The Writers Guild represents more than 11,000 people. Its 2008 strike was the last of any kind among a Hollywood union.

In 2017, the Writers Guild reached a new deal hours after their contract ended, preventing a strike from coming to fruition. Four years later, the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees agreed to a deal two days before a potential strike involving 60,000 employees.

With News Wire Services


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