As we’ve seen in the news, the Writers Guild of America, or WGA, has been on strike for over a hundred days now. So, what does that mean for viewers? The 2023 writers strike is one of the largest interruptions to American film and television since the pandemic, which has caused several shows to cancel their shoots as well as reduce their staff.
WGA has asked for numerous changes concerning working conditions, compensation structure and threats to jobs with AI. So, with all of this, how is affected viewers everywhere? Read more to find out what the 2023 writers strike is about and the writers strike impact on movies and streaming this fall.
What is the 2023 Writers Strike?
At the WGAE Screenwriters Picket: WGAE Exec Director Lowell Peterson brought insight from the LA negotiating table, & screenwriter Sarah Montana gave great reminders of what we’re fighting for. One day longer, one day stronger ✊ #WGAstrike #WGAstrong #union #writersoftiktok #writersguildofamerica #hollywoodstrike #nyc #fyp #picket #writersstrike #1u #sagaftrastrike #sagaftra #SAGAFTRAstrong #trending #foryou♬ original sound – wgaeast
Beginning May 2, 2023, the WGA, which represents 11,500 screenwriters, went on strike over an ongoing labor dispute with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, or AMPTP.
After the WGA walked off, the Screen Actors Guild and American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) went on strike as well on July 14. Both are stuck in contract negotiations with the AMPTP.
They have begun picketing outside of major studios in Los Angeles like Amazon, Disney, Netflix, Warner Bros., and more.
The last strike that the WGA performed was in 1988, which lasted 154 days. Currently, the strike has been going on for over 120 days. And the last big writer strike happened between 2007 and 2008, which had a huge impact on reality TV, and competition shows.
WGA Main Issues
The WGA asked for a number of changes, but the biggest focus in the labor dispute is compensation. The WGA claims that AMPTP’s share of residuals has cut much of the writers’ average income compared to a decade ago.
Writers also want AI, or Artificial Intelligence, such as ChatGPT, to be used only as a tool that can help with research or script ideas, and not a tool that could potentially replace them.
Studios have also started reducing the size of writers’ rooms, which causes more work and effort. What once was twelve writers working on shows like Friends, are now only four or five writers.
2023 Writers Strike Effect on TV and Movies
Today marks day 100 of the Writers Guild of America TV/streaming/film screenwriters strike. Day 100 is simply a milestone of shame for the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP), whose Hollywood studio members rake in billions of profit on the backs of WGA members’ writing, but can’t “afford” to meet our demands for living wages. All while dishing out hundreds of millions of $$$ in exec compensation. Waiting us out won’t work. Our resolve is as strong as ever. The writing is on the wall, AMPTP. #WGAstrong #WGAstrike #writersstrike #writersoftiktok #writersguildofamerica #nyc #activism #picket #hollywoodstrike #hollywoodstudios #union #writersguildofamerica #sagaftrastrike♬ Hip Hop Background(814204) – Pavel
The biggest change that viewers will sees is a reduction in upcoming shows and films. While there are some key differences depending on the programs you watch, the main thing is that you might not see your anticipated upcoming film, nor see any new episodes releasing in your nightly shows.
The good news is that most streaming platforms have shows prepared and backed up ready for release, so you will most likely receive new content for a while.
Netflix has stated that they have a large base of upcoming shows and films from around the world that will hopefully get them through the 2023 writers strike without too much change.
HBO Max, which is now known as Max, also planned a backlog of shows that they can release in preparation of their rebranding. So most streaming platforms have enough content that it might not be noticeable for a while.
Thankfully, most shows will be able to end their seasons uninterrupted. Some daytime soap operas might not be able to finish, as several scripts are written not long before they are filmed. But primetime comedies and dramas currently on air should be safe, as they are already written.
While news shows will continue as normal, as their writers are covered by a different union, as well as unscripted shows like Big Brother and The Bachelor.
For scripted shows, however, most will be postponed or even cancelled. Without an end in sight, it can be hard to nail down when production will be back up, and if it’s worth the wait. Some shows will likely push production dates back, while others will most likely cancel.
Some shows that have been delayed or paused include Law and Order, The Last of Us, Outlander, Euphoria, and several more.
Late Night Shows
For SNL and late night shows, viewers will notice immediate changes as the strike will impact those the most and fastest. These shows are based on current events, and without writers it is not possible to produce new shows.
Several shows such as Jimmy Kimmel Live!, The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon and more have already halted production and have only aired re-runs.
Thankfully, another region that won’t be hit directly are movies. Since they take so long to produce, studios have a pipeline of movies already written and shot. The strike would have to last several years to interrupt the film releases.
But while most movies already in production won’t take a hit, there are some variables that could cause some issues. Even if film scripts are complete, writers will not be able to be on set to help rewrite or bring more to the film.
Daniel Craig mentions how hard it was to make Quantum of Solace, as he was in the role of a writer to rewrite some of the script.
While the 2023 writers strike will affect our viewing abilities for a while, we should be aware that this is not something that anyone wants to do. Most writers are taking on side jobs and hustles to get by as they wait for negotiations, and several actors have walked off sets to join these writers.
Even filmmakers such as Christopher Nolan has stated that he will not be working on another film until the strike is resolved. While it might damper your shows and anticipated films, it’s important to be patient, as there is still a plethora of backlog content that platforms are releasing.