By MALLORY GRUBEN
Movie and TV writers hit picket lines May 2 in Hollywood’s first writers’ strike in more than a decade. A halt to new episodes of late-night comedy shows will be the first impact the public will notice.
The Writers Guild of America unanimously called the strike after six weeks of negotiations with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers. AMPTP represents Netflix, Amazon, Apple, Disney, Discovery-Warner, NBC Universal, Paramount, and Sony.
WGA said the companies have tried to create a “gig economy inside a union workforce” by refusing to guarantee weekly employment in episodic TV and stonewalling union proposals to regulate the use of artificial intelligence software for writing. WGA members authorized the strike with a historic than 97.85% approval. No members of WGA will write new scripts for TV shows or movies during the strike.
Shows that are scripted very close to their air dates, like “The Tonight Show” and “Saturday Night Live,” may be forced to air re-runs in place of new episodes, according to Vox News. The strike’s effect on traditional television and movies may be less noticeable, though it could slow new production if other entertainment workers refuse to cross picket lines. Several hosts and actors — many who are also WGA members — have voiced their support for striking writers May 1.
“I wouldn’t have a show if it wasn’t for my writers,” Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon told Variety. “I support them all the way. They’ve got to have a fair contract.”
The last time WGA writers struck was 2007-2008. The strike lasted 100 days.