In November 2007, the Writers Guild Of America (WGA) went on strike, causing widespread disruption in the entertainment industry. The strike lasted for 100 days and resulted in the loss of millions of dollars for the studios and networks involved.
Now, over a decade later, there is talk of another possible WGA strike. The current contract between the WGA and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) expires on May 1, 2020, and negotiations are currently underway.
This year (in 2023,) the WGA strike is on once again. This year, it means the same: Many shows will not be airing for many weeks. Likewise, many movies and blockbuster films will collapse. Thus, the strike will have numerous impacts on the entertainment industry.
What Is the WGA & What Do They Want?
The WGA is the union that represents screenwriters in the United States. The union negotiates on behalf of members for better salaries, better working conditions, and better benefits.
The current negotiations are centered around three main issues: TV residuals, health care, and the “sunset” clause. TV residuals are the fees paid to writers for their work when their shows are rerun on television or streamed online.
Health care is a major concern for the WGA, as many members struggle to pay for necessary medical treatment. The “sunset” clause means that the agreement between the writers and the producers would expire after three years, which would allow for more frequent negotiations.
What Shows Would Be Affected by the Strike?
If the WGA and the AMPTP cannot come to an agreement, it is likely that the writers will go on strike. This would mean that many popular American shows would be affected. Late-night talk shows, dramas, and comedies would likely go off the air, and production on new shows would be halted.
The last WGA strike, in 2007, resulted in the loss of popular shows such as “Heroes,” “24,” and “Desperate Housewives.” If another strike were to occur, it would undoubtedly result in the loss of even more shows.
What Happens to the Shows Already in Production?
If a WGA strike were to occur, it would likely mean that shows that are already in production would be impacted the most. Episodes that were already written and filmed would still air but once those episodes ran out, the shows would go off the air. This would be especially devastating for shows that are already struggling in the ratings, as a prolonged hiatus could mean the end of the series.
Likewise, there is also the possibility that studios could hire non-union writers to continue working on their shows. But this would likely cause more tension between the WGA and the studios.
What Can Fans Do to Help?
Fans of popular American shows can do several things to help support the writers during a potential strike. One way is to participate in social media campaigns organized by the WGA. Similarly, fans can also write letters to the studios and networks involved, thus urging them to come to an agreement with the WGA.