As of midnight on Monday, the WGA, or Writers Guild of America, is striking. In the last few days it has come to light that they were unable to reach a deal with multiple studios after weeks of negotiations in regard to the regulation of AI in the field, as well as the pay cut they were taking in the great shift toward streaming services. The picketing has officially started as of this morning, with writers and their signs ready outside of major studios in both LA and NYC.
The type of television likely to be hit hardest by this is late night television, as these shows rely on writers for nearly every facet of their production. Jimmy Kimmel Live and The Late Show with Steven Colbert plan to air reruns during the duration of the strike.
Due to this, we’ll likely see an increase in reality tv, which is usually unscripted and relies less on writers because of that.
With studios typically having a backlog of episodes for currently airing scripted dramas, it seems like shows that are running now are safe.
While there has recently been a major increase in demand for scripts, pay for writers has decreased a massive 23% over the last ten years.
Kate Fortmueller, a WGA member and assistant professor of entertainment and media studies at the University of Georgia, said it best when she told The Atlantic, “As audience members, we could be more reflective. What are the conditions under which [a film or TV show] is being made? Who’s being rewarded for this work? Who should be rewarded for this work?”
And movie writers have it rough right now as well, only being paid for a single draft of their work as opposed to each draft it takes to create the final product, which can be months to years worth of work for them, before the studio elects to keep them on or move to a cheaper choice who then has the rights to the original writers work.
Maybe now is a good time to remember that it was creatives and artists that got us through the soul crushing weight of the pandemic, bringing us joy and distraction in an uncertain period in our society.