Sunday, April 14, 2024

Hollywood Goes on Strike! Writers Stoppage Will Mean Late Night Talk Show Reruns, Soap Operas Halted, “SNL” in Jeopardy


The Writers Guild has called a strike after months of negotiating with the studios. The issue is streaming. The studios, say the union, don’t want to pay writers for their work when it’s streaming. But streaming — on all the platforms — is the present and the future more and more every day.

The strike means late night talk shows will go into reruns beginning tonight, Tuesday. And if the strike lasts more than a month, the four soap operas on broadcast TV will either be written by scabs, or what’s known as fi-core or financial core writers (they opt out of striking as non-members who still pay dues). “SNL” set for this weekend with Pete Davidson will probably not happen.

From the Writers Guild West: “The Board of Directors of the @WGAwest and the Council of the @WGAeast, acting upon the authority granted to them by their memberships, have voted unanimously to call a strike, effective 12:01 AM, Tuesday, May 2. The decision was made following six weeks of negotiating with @Netflix, @Amazon, @Apple, @Disney, @wbd, @NBCUniversal, @Paramountplus and @Sony
under the umbrella of the AMPTP. Though our Negotiating Committee began this process intent on making a fair deal, the studios’ responses have been wholly insufficient given the existential crisis writers are facing. Picketing will begin tomorrow afternoon.”

What will make this strike different from the one in 2007-2008? Social media, of course. And even then the strike last 100 days.

What happens now? All members of the WGA drop their pens, so to speak. They turn off their computers. Scripts being written for the fall season stop. Movies being filmed and needing spruce ups will not get them. Hollywood becomes like Pepperland in “Yellow Submarine” until the executives come up with an offer that will give the writers a proper living.

What happens to members other unions? They must continue working if under contract as long as they are not writing. SAG-AFTRA members who are working actors on projects must keep doing their jobs.

It’s going to be a contentious morning.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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