Hollywood Writers Strike: Which TV Shows Will Go Off-Air? Latest Updates and News!
What was the strike about?
The Writers Guild of America (WGA), the union that represents more than 11,000 writers in the film and TV industry, went on strike on May 1, 2023, after failing to reach a new contract with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP), the trade association that represents the major studios and streaming services. The main issues of contention were:
– The pay and working conditions of writers in the streaming era, where shows have shorter seasons and less reruns, resulting in lower residuals and less job security for writers.
– The transparency and accountability of streaming platforms, such as Netflix, Amazon and Disney+, which do not disclose their viewership numbers or revenue data, making it hard for writers to negotiate fair compensation and royalties.
– The protection of writers’ intellectual property rights and creative control in the face of the growing use of artificial intelligence (AI) by studios and producers to generate scripts, stories and characters.
How did the strike end?
The strike lasted for 148 days, making it one of the longest and most disruptive in Hollywood history. It affected hundreds of productions, from blockbuster movies to popular TV shows, forcing many to go off-air, delay their release dates or cancel their seasons altogether. Some of the shows that were impacted by the strike include:
– Stranger Things (Netflix)
– The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (Amazon)
– The Handmaid’s Tale (Hulu)
– Succession (HBO)
– The Crown (Netflix)
– This Is Us (NBC)
– Grey’s Anatomy (ABC)
– The Walking Dead (AMC)
The strike also had a ripple effect on other sectors of the entertainment industry, such as actors, directors, crew members, agents, advertisers and vendors, who lost income and opportunities due to the work stoppage. According to some estimates, the strike cost the Los Angeles economy more than $3 billion.
The strike finally came to an end on September 26, 2023, when the WGA announced that it had reached a tentative agreement with the AMPTP after five days of marathon negotiations. The agreement was unanimously approved by the WGA’s board and council, and sent to its members for ratification. The agreement included significant gains and concessions for writers on several key areas, such as:
– A 5% increase in minimum pay for writers across all categories, followed by another 4% increase in 2024 and a 3.5% increase in 2025.
– A 0.5% increase in health fund contributions by employers, bringing it to 12% of reportable earnings.
– A 18% increase in minimum compensation for writers working on feature-length productions with a budget of at least $30 million for streaming platforms.
– A 25% increase in residual pay minimums for big-budget streaming productions.
– A 50% bonus for writers when their shows are watched by at least 20% of domestic subscribers in the first three months of a project’s run on video-on-demand services.
– A guarantee that writers working on the same script will not have to split pension and health contributions.
– A requirement that streaming platforms provide writers with access to viewership data and revenue information for their shows within 90 days of release.
– A set of guidelines and limitations for the use of AI by studios and producers, such as obtaining writers’ consent, crediting writers’ contributions and compensating writers accordingly.
What are the implications of the strike?
The strike resolution was widely seen as a victory for writers and a sign of their collective power and solidarity in the face of a rapidly changing and increasingly consolidated media landscape. The strike also highlighted some of the challenges and opportunities that writers face in the digital age, such as:
– The need to adapt to new formats, platforms and genres that cater to diverse and global audiences.
– The potential to leverage data and analytics to enhance storytelling and audience engagement.
– The threat of automation and algorithmization that could undermine creativity and originality.
– The importance of protecting intellectual property rights and artistic integrity in a competitive and commodified market.
The strike also had an impact on the broader cultural and social discourse, as it raised awareness about some of the issues that affect not only writers but also other workers in the gig economy, such as:
– The lack of fair compensation and benefits for freelance and contract workers.
– The precariousness and instability of project-based and short-term employment.
– The exploitation and marginalization of workers from underrepresented groups, such as women, people of color and LGBTQ+ people.
– The WGA went on strike on May 1, 2023, over pay, streaming and AI issues.
– The strike lasted for 148 days and affected hundreds of productions and thousands of workers.
– The strike ended on September 26, 2023, with a tentative agreement that included significant gains and concessions for writers.
– The strike had implications for writers, the entertainment industry and the wider society.