A writer’s strike affecting Hollywood studios and production companies could begin as soon as Tuesday.
That’s expected to happen if a deal isn’t reached by midnight Monday night, making it the first Writers Guild of America (WGA) strike in over 10 years.
The deadline is when the WGA contract between the Association of Motion Picture and Television Producers expires.
What happens if there’s a strike?
If a strike does happen, the production of scripted network shows and late-night talk shows will be stopped. It would also halt writing work for movies, television, and streaming services.
What shows will be impacted the most?
Late-night programs will be the first to feel the impact if a strike happens, they’ll go into reruns immediately. This is due to their nightly schedules and their subject matter as the hosts’ opening monologues consist of making fun of the day’s news.
“Immediately, new episodes of late-night shows including ‘Jimmy Kimmel Live!,’ ‘The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon,’ ‘Real Time With Bill Maher,’ ‘Late Night With Seth Meyers,’ ‘Saturday Night Live,’ ‘Last Week Tonight With John Oliver,’ and others would cease,” the WGA said in a report obtained by the Los Angeles Times.
Daytime television and soap operas will also feel the impact of their ongoing production schedule.
15 years ago, soaps remained on the air with “non-union scab writers,” the BBC reported. However, this year the WGA “warned writers that they would be barred from future membership if they break the strike.”
The final three episodes of “Saturday Night Live” could also be affected, which includes its season finale.
The WGA did say the strike could also impact the fall network television season.
“A work stoppage in May could delay the network television season, which continues to account for one-third of all episodes produced, including 45% of the episodes produced by legacy media companies Disney, Paramount Global, and Comcast NBCUniversal,” the report said. “Writers on fall network series typically begin work in May and June in preparation for series premieres in September and October.”
The report also noted that streaming platforms could take a hit as well.
“Writing for numerous streaming series is also ongoing or is anticipated to begin in the coming months,” the report continued. “Any delay in the start of work has the potential to postpone fall season premieres and could ultimately reduce the amount of new programming produced for
the 2023-2024 network season.”
How are production companies preparing?
To prepare for a possible strike and halted production for scripted programming, many production companies are pitching new reality shows. This comes in response to news that many media and entertainment companies are facing financial challenges. Film and TV production supports more than 7,000 in California alone.
Deadline reports that during the 2007-08 strike, networks leaned heavily on unscripted television shows, which ended up with “an explosion of reality TV and new formats,” which still remain today.