LOS ANGELES (AP) — The union representing 11,500 writers in film, television and other forms of entertainment is now on strike.. It’s the first writers’ strike — and Hollywood’s first strike of any kind — in 15 years. Here’s a look at the storylines that spawned from the fight.
Why attack the book?
Running and its undulating effects It is the center of the conflict. The Guild says that even as series budgets have increased, the writers’ share of that money has continually shrunk.
The union says using streaming services for smaller employees – known in the industry as “microrooms” – for shorter periods has made sustainable income more difficult. The number of writers working in minimal unions has fallen from about a third to about a half in the past decade. The union says the writers of broadcast comedy variety shows have no minimum protection whatsoever.
“On TV staff, at least more writers are working regardless of experience, often for fewer weeks,” the union said in a March report..
The report says the lack of a regular seasonal calendar in flow has added to the decline in wages. The bumps in annual wages scheduled under the current contract were far less than the increases in inflation.
The weekly minimum for a staff writer on a TV series in the 2019-2020 season was $4,546, according to industry trade outlet Variety.. They run an average of 29 weeks on a network show for $131,834 a year, or an average of 20 weeks on a streaming show for $90,920. For the writer and producer, the figure is $6,967 per week.
The Motion Picture and Television Producers Alliance, which represents Hollywood studios, broadcast companies and production companies, says their priority is the “long-term health and stability of the industry” and they are dedicated to reaching a “fair and reasonable agreement”.
How did we get here?
Months of negotiations, primarily over writers’ salaries in exchange for streaming shows, still left a significant distance between AMPTP and the writers. The Writers Guild of America – whose eastern and western versions are technically two unions working as a unit in these talks.
The current contract expired on Monday. At this point, the writers voted overwhelmingly to allow their leaders to call a strikehas already begun Make signs for picket lines.
AMPTP said Monday night that it had offered “generous increases in compensation to writers as well as improvements to tailings flow” and would improve its bid but could not due to too many demands from writers.
Which offers will be affected first?
Late-night talk shows, which rely heavily on same-day comedy writing and are based on current events, will be the first to feel the impact of the strike. The shows were the de facto front line during previous writers’ strikes. Shows like “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” on NBC and “Jimmy Kimmel” on ABC LIVE!” New episodes are set to air this week. They haven’t announced their plans yet, but they’ll likely switch to reboots now. James Corden’s Farewell Thursday Night To Late Late Show was well timed.
“Saturday Night Live” has a slightly longer production schedule but is more dependent on its writers. The strike would upend the final three episodes of this season, starting with Saturday’s show with host Pete Davidson.
The case for daytime talk shows, which lean more toward host chats and interviews, would be less certain. ABC’s The View was uninterrupted during the most recent strike, which began in late 2007 and ended in early 2008.
How will the strike affect the written series and movies?
It’s going to take a lot longer for the scripted series to see the effect of the hit. Even daily soap operas tend to complete their scripts several months in advance. Noticeable effects on the film’s release calendar may take longer.
Production on final scripts could go ahead as planned (without the benefit of last minute rewrites). That’s assuming the crews — whose union recently came close to going on strike — and the actors — whose union contract with AMPTP expires on June 30 — are willing to cross picket lines and work.
The production, long aware of the looming deadline, sought to be completed before it arrived. FilmLA, which distributes site permits for the Los Angeles area, says none have been ordered for TV dramas or sitcoms this week.
Many viewers and moviegoers may not notice the effects of the strike until long after it has ended, if at all. Listings on Netflix and Amazon Prime Video won’t look any different next week, but since this will be the first writers’ strike in the streaming era, there’s no model for how they’ll look over the course of months.
During the recent strike, when broadcast and cable networks with well-established seasonal schedules still reigned supreme, several shows, including “30 Rock,” “CSI,” and “Grey’s Anatomy,” shortened their seasons.
Unscripted reality TV has grown in strength at that time. And Big Brother and The Amazing Race both increased their output. “The Apprentice,” hosted by Donald Trump, got new life when a celebrity version of the show was shelved to help fill the scripted void.
What happens now to the book?
A complete cessation of work would mean huge economic losses for the screenwriters, although many say it will be worth it to fight the daily dwindling of income.
The union’s strike rules prevent members from striking new deals, making new offers, or converting new scripts. They are allowed to accept payment for any writing already done.
Those known in the industry as “hyphens,” including showrunners who serve as creators, producers, writers, performers, and people like Quinta Bronson Of the “Abbot Elementary” who do all of the above, they are permitted to do the non-clerical portions of their jobs under union rules, though such work may be minimal as they seek solidarity with their writing staff. (At the Met Gala on Monday, Bruson said “I’m a member of the WGA and I support the WGA and… we, we, we get what we need. … nobody wants a strike but I hope we can make this right, whatever that means.”)
What happened during previous book strikes
The book has hit six times, more than any group in Hollywood.
The first came in 1960, a writers’ union strike that lasted nearly five months. Strikes followed in 1973, 1981 and 1985. The longest period of work stoppages, lasting exactly five months, was in 1988.
The 2007-2008 strike was resolved after three months. Among the major concessions the writers won were the requirements that fledgling broadcast shows must hire syndicated writers if their budgets were large enough. It was an early harbinger of almost every recreational labor fight in the years that followed.