Television and movie writers have launched a strike for the first time in 15 years, a move that could have a cascading effect on TV and film productions.
The first place viewers will feel the effects of the strike will be an immediate pause on late-night shows including those run by Jimmy Fallon, Jimmy Kimmel, Seth Myers and Stephen Colbert. New episodes of “Saturday Night Live” will be halted, as well as the HBO comedy shows “Real Time With Bill Maher” and “Last Week Tonight With John Oliver.”
Colbert, who taped his “Late Show” on Monday before the negotiations ended, in his opening monologue featured a picture of all his writers. He said the show wouldn’t happen without them adding, “I also think that the writers’ demands are not unreasonable.”
The Writers Guild of America is seeking higher minimum pay, less thinly staffed writing rooms, shorter exclusive contracts and a reworking of residual pay — all conditions the WGA says have been diminished in the content boom driven by streaming.
“The companies’ behavior has created a gig economy inside a union workforce, and their immovable stance in this negotiation has betrayed a commitment to further devaluing the profession of writing,” the WGA said in a statement.
The labor dispute could have a cascading effect on TV and film productions depending on how long the strike persists.
Many favorite television shows will cease production. Thousands of actors, directors and crew members will be out of work. Scripted shows that are currently airing will most likely wrap up their seasons. However, this work stoppage could affect TV’s fall schedule. It could also delay films with release dates.
The strike comes at a particularly apt time for addressing Hollywood power brokers: TV’s upfront season. Likewise, the guild is poised to take several picket sites, including the NBCUniversal upfront at Radio City Music Hall on May 15, Netflix’s event at Manhattan’s Paris Theater on May 17 and Warner Bros. Discovery’s gathering at The Theater at Madison Square Garden on May 17.
“The survival of our profession is at stake,” the guild has said.
— Jake Coyle, AP film writer and critic