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late-night-seth-meyers.jpg

Hollywood Writers, the Lifeblood of the TV and Movie Industry, Go On Strike

By Dustin Rowles | TV | May 2, 2023 |

By Dustin Rowles | TV | May 2, 2023 |


late-night-seth-meyers.jpg

Dan Hamamura, the comedy editor and host of the podcast Podjiba, has been warning us for months that the day might come when a writers’ strike would occur. It’s happened. This is the first writers’ strike in 15 years and comes after six weeks of intense negotiations. The two sides have not yet come to an agreement, and as a result, 11,500 writers are now on strike.

Picket lines will be set up this afternoon, and late-night productions will start shutting down as soon as today. This weekend’s episode of SNL, which is hosted by Pete Davidson, is unlikely to air. However, the impact won’t be felt as quickly in other areas. Most streamers have content banked, so they won’t feel the effects right away. The networks probably won’t feel the full brunt until the fall. The film industry may not see the impact of the strike for months. Reality programming, which is not covered by the WGA, may replace some scripted programming if the strike continues.

There’s reason to believe that the strike could go on for a while. The profession has been hit hard by Peak TV and the streaming era. In the past, television writers were paid as staff members overseeing the production of their scripts for 22 episode seasons. They received residuals based, essentially, on the popularity of a series. However, many are now being paid as gig-economy workers. They are asked to contribute to 8-10 episode seasons over Zoom and being cut out of the process before their scripts are produced, receiving only fixed residuals. In many cases, they also have no idea how popular their content is. Studios have turned writing into cheap, assembly-line productions overseen, for now, by experienced showrunners. However, many in the new generation of future showrunners are not being given the opportunity to gain that experience, which could leave a huge gap in talent in the future. The WGA is demanding not only better pay but also better structure and conditions. They want full-time, year-round jobs and don’t want to be replaced by AI. The studios, on the other hand, want Uber drivers with laptops who can jump from one 2-3 month project to another.

At the same time, streamers and studios, who overspent during the pandemic to gain market share for their newly launched streaming products, are now cutting costs and laying off employees. Expensive shows are often being replaced by cheaper alternatives. The industry is changing, but corporations are still making record profits, and CEOs are being paid exorbitant amounts of money while laying off workers.

Without writers, there is no content to produce, and without content, there is no profit to make. Here at Pajiba, we support the WGA.

Seth Meyers, whom we may not see on our televisions for days, weeks, or months due to the strike, emphasizes its importance here: