If you haven’t been following along, it’s as simple and as complicated as this: the Writer’s Guild of America, the backbone of all your favorite tv shows, has gone on strike. This means that new television and late night shows have come to a screeching halt – and with good reason.
What they’re demanding is equally as simple: higher pay that reflects the immense amount of work they do, fairer deals for said work, a stable pay structure, and contracts and provisions about artificial intelligence (yes, studios are actually suggesting that AI now write our tv shows).
Chris Keyser, the WGA negotiating committee co-chair, had this to say: “We have reached this moment today not of our own choosing but because the companies’ assault on writer income and working conditions have pushed us to an existential brink.”
Picketing sites have included Netflix, Amazon, Warner Bros., Universal Studios, and more.
And plenty of creators are saying that morale is high out there on the picket lines. It looks like other unions are coming together as well, with actors and production and set crew joining their co-workers on the streets.
Prior to the actual strike, WGA members had been negotiating for over six weeks in regards to their pay and other issues. But these negotiations failed when Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers refused to meet their requests.
This isn’t the first time that we’ve been here. In 2008, pre streaming boom, the WGA went on strike. And in some ways, the mess involving unfair wages and pitiful streaming residuals seems almost like a punishment for that strike.
So what comes next? Likely more picketing as the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers tries to wait out the WGA and their supporters. Some incredibly popular shows, like Stranger Things, have hit pause on production, while others, like mega-hit House of the Dragon, have elected to press on with their finished scripts (though anyone who works in television will tell you that re-writes happen all the way through production). Late night shows have come to a standstill and will remain that way until an agreement can be reached.
And if you’re worried about what to watch in the meantime, there are a plethora of incredible already finished shows out there just waiting for you. Stay tuned for a top 10 list of this author’s favorite underrated (completed) shows.