Inside the Writers Strike Bringing Hollywood to a Halt

in Entertainment, Movies, Television

A camera films with a burry background. No people are in the photo, referencing the emptiness of the Hollywood strike.

Writers have officially begun their first Hollywood strike since 2008, bringing the booming entertainment industry to a sudden halt.

Following six weeks of unsuccessful negotiations, the Writers Guild of America announced a unanimous vote to strike, beginning at 12:01 a.m. Pacific Standard Time on Tuesday, May 2, 2023. The labor union, representing films, television, radio, and internet programming writers, shared a statement on Twitter overnight.

jimmy kimmel on jimmy kimmel live
Credit: ABC

The Board of Directors of the [Writers Guild of America West] and the Council of the [Writers Guild of America, East], acting upon the authority granted to them by their memberships, have voted unanimously to call a strike, effective 12:01 AM, Tuesday, May 2,” they wrote. “The decision was made following six weeks of negotiating with [Netflix, Amazon, Apple, Disney, Warner Bros. Discovery, NBC Universal/Comcast, Paramount Plus, and Sony]  under the umbrella of [The Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers].” 

“Though our Negotiating Committee began this process intent on making a fair deal, the studios’ responses have been wholly insufficient given the existential crisis writers are facing,” they continued. “Picketing will begin tomorrow afternoon. #WGAStrong #WGAStrike.” 

The Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) said it offered writers “generous increases in compensation” and was willing to continue negotiating, according to The New York Times

But studios, represented by AMPTP, failed to budge on other demands. The WGA asked for a required number of writers staffed on every production, guardrails against using Artificial Intelligence, and better compensation for streaming-exclusive shows.

Shorter seasons for streaming-exclusive television and the downfall of cable have significantly impacted writers’ residuals, which many rely on to survive. A spokesperson for the WGA described the Hollywood strike as “existential” and said, “The survival of writing as a profession is at stake in this negotiation.”

THE TONIGHT SHOW STARRING JIMMY FALLON -- Episode 1568 -- Pictured: (l-r) Actor Pete Davidson and singer Miley Cyrus during an interview with host Jimmy Fallon on Thursday, December 9, 2021 -- (Photo by: Mike Coppola/NBC)
Credit: NBC

It could take months of picketing to see some impacts of the strike, as most entertainment coming out right now was produced many months ago. But late-night television like The Late Show with Stephen ColbertJimmy Kimmel Live!, and The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon will stop running today.

The last Hollywood writers strike lasted from November 5, 2007, to February 12, 2008, and cost the economy of Los Angeles an estimated $2.1 billion. A strike’s impact goes far beyond writers – nearby food service workers, makeup artists, costumers, production staff, and others all feel the fallout of a halted entertainment industry.

In a video last week, Seth Meyers, host of Late Night, spoke in solidarity with striking writers.

Comcast NBC Universal Logo
Credit: Comcast NBC Universal

“It doesn’t just affect the writers,” he said. “It affects all the incredible nonwriting staff on these shows. And it would really be a miserable thing for people to have to go through, especially considering we’re on the heels of that awful pandemic.”

Still, he maintained that the WGA was negotiating for “not unreasonable” demands and that a strike is “not done lightly.”

When do you think the Hollywood strike will be resolved? Share your thoughts with Inside the Magic in the comments.

in Entertainment, Movies, Television

Comments Off on Inside the Writers Strike Bringing Hollywood to a Halt