Everything to Know About the Hollywood Writers Guild Strike, Including the TV Shows and Movies Affected
Here's what to know about the WGA strike and a comprehensive list of the shows being impacted by it, including late night, The View, Saturday Night Live and more
This marks the first Writers Guild of America (WGA) strike since 2007.
The labor union that represents more than 1,000 entertainment writers, who work across film, television, news and online media, are going on strike because the deadline for a new contract passed on May 1 this year without a ratified contract.
The threat of a strike haunted Hollywood in the days leading up to the contract expiration deadline — and after failed negotiations, the announcement made by the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) Monday night forced the WGA to take action.
"Negotiations between the AMPTP and the WGA concluded without an agreement today," read the statement regarding a new film and scripted TV contract. (The AMPTP represents the studios, while the WGA backs the writers who work for them.)
While the statement issued by the AMPTP made clear that they "presented a comprehensive package proposal to the Guild" which in part included "generous increases in compensation for writers," it also indicated that the AMPTP is "willing to improve" that offer.
Related:Late Night Shows to Shutdown as Hollywood Writers Strike Begins After Failed Negotiations
But, the statement went on, there were other "sticking points" including "mandatory staffing" and "duration of employment" that the WGA was requesting, which led to a failure of both parties to agree on the contract terms and move forward.
The entertainment industry felt the impact immediately, with late-night chat shows shutting down production when the clock struck deadline. Other shows, like HBO's Real Time With Bill Maher, went dark as well. Daytime talk shows including The View are forging ahead, though warning that its format will look different without its writers.
Ironically, the contract that effects average entertainment laborers loomed heavily over major Hollywood players at the 2023 Met Gala, the same night that its deadline expired. A hot topic asked by many reporters on the red carpet, celebrities voiced their concerns and support of the WGA and the treatment of its members.
Here's everything to know about the WGA strike, including how it might affect your favorite TV shows and movies.
What is the Writers Guild of America?
Per its website, the Writers Guild of America (WGA) "is a labor union representing thousands of members who write content for motion pictures, television, news and online media." They currently consist of more than 6,000 members.
Founded in 1954, The Guild "negotiates and administers contracts that protect the creative and economic rights of its members; conducts programs, seminars and events on issues of interest to writers; and presents writers' views to various bodies of government."
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Why are Hollywood writers protesting?
The existing contract was created well before the explosion of streaming media (and all of the upheaval that has caused in terms of the volume of output as well as the way content is hosted and viewed today) and, the guild says, does not adequately address how they should be compensated for work within this new medium.
Writers have been seeking a major overhaul in compensation for streaming residuals, as well as higher pay overall, greater protections and a solution to the increase of "mini-rooms," in which a small group of writers pen multiple scripts for a show's potential first season prior to production beginning.
However, many of the WGA's contract proposals were outright rejected, which caused the union to move forward with its pledge to stop work until its requirements were addressed.
On March 14, the WGA released a report, titled "Writers Are Not Keeping Up," that details the issues. Among the many include the negative impact on writers' compensation since the domination of streaming services.
"On TV staffs, more writers are working at minimum regardless of experience, often for fewer weeks, or in mini-rooms, while showrunners are left without a writing staff to complete the season," the report states. "And while series budgets have soared over the past decade, median writer-producer pay has fallen."
When did the WGA strike begin?
The existing contract between the Writers Guild of America and Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers — which includes Netflix, Amazon, Apple, Disney, Discovery-Warner, NBC Universal, Paramount and Sony — officially expired at midnight Pacific time, kicking off the walkout at 12:01 a.m. PT on May 2.
While it's uncertain how long this strike could be in effect, the last strike stretched 100 days, starting in November 2007 and continuing through February 2008.
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What solution are the writers seeking with the WGA strike?
Despite the clear content boom in recent years, in part due to the additions and advancements in streaming services, both the WGA and the AMPTP agree that writers are bringing in less money overall.
However, agreeing on a solution is where the conflict originated. "WGA proposals would gain writers approximately $429 million per year; AMPTP's offer is approximately $86 million per year, 48% of which is from the minimums increase," the guild said, according to Deadline.
What has President Joe Biden said about the WGA strike?
About a week after the strike commenced, President Joe Biden addressed the WGA strike for the first time during a screening for the upcoming Disney+ series American Born Chinese on May 8.
"Nights like these are a reminder of the power of stories and the importance of treating storytellers with dignity, respect and the value they deserve," Biden said at The White House-hosted viewing held to commemorate Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month.
"I sincerely hope the writers strike in Hollywood gets resolved and the writers are given a fair deal they deserve as soon as possible," continued Biden. "This is an iconic, meaningful American industry and we need the writers and all the workers and everyone involved to tell the stories of our nation and the stories of all of us."
As various series have already gone dark (with more expected to follow suite), American Born Chinese is still set to premiere later this month. Michelle Yeoh, Yeo Yann Yann, Chin Han, Daniel Wu, Ke Huy Quan and Sydney Taylor star in the Kelvin Yu-created show.
Related:Joe Biden Says Hollywood Writers Deserve a 'Fair Deal' amid Writers Guild Strike That's Put Industry on Pause
Have Hollywood celebrities spoken out about the WGA strike?
Several of the late night show hosts (many of whom, like Jimmy Fallon, double as members of the WGA themselves) among other Hollywood stars, have spoken out in support of their writers.
"I wouldn't have a show if it wasn't for my writers, and I support them all the way. They gotta have a fair contract, and they got a lot of stuff to iron out," Fallon told Variety at the Met Gala on May 1.
Abbott Elementary creator and star Quinta Brunson doubles as a member herself. "I'm a member of WGA, and support WGA, you know them getting what — we, us, getting what we need," Brunson told the AP. "No one wants a strike, but I hope that we're able to rectify this, whatever that means."
Meanwhile, Amanda Seyfried voiced her frustration when speaking with Variety at the Met Gala, saying "I don't get what the problem is ... Everything changed with streaming, and everybody needs to be compensated for their work. That's f—ing easy."
Have celebrities taken action amid the WGA strike?
Stars from TV and film have come out in support of thousands of Writers Guild of America union members who went on strike May 2 after six weeks of negotiations for a new contract with the AMPTP reached an unacceptable stalemate.
Celebrities included: Rob Lowe, Davidson, Marissa Jaret Winokur, Cynthia Nixon, Jay Leno, Quinta Brunson, Natasha Lyonne and Wanda Sykes to name a few.
Meanwhile, Variety reported on May 4 that Jimmy Fallon and Seth Meyers of NBC intend on paying the staffers at their late night shows "three weeks' of wages while the programs are sidelined due to the writers strike," sources familiar with the matter told the outlet.
"NBC plans to pay two weeks of salary to staffers while each late-night host will pay a third week out of their own pockets, according to these people," the outlet noted. Plus, "Healthcare for the shows' employees will be paid through September."
Fallon and Meyers were reportedly in attendance at the production calls when staffers learned of this information on May 3. According to Variety, "The hosts typically do not participate in those early-day meetings."
Related:Pete Davidson, Cynthia Nixon and More Stand in Solidarity with the Writers' Strike
Which television shows have paused amid WGA strike?
The impact of the strike was felt immediately. In addition to picketing (which began the afternoon of May 2), production on daily late night shows including The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, Jimmy Kimmel Live!, The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Late Night with Seth Meyers and The Daily Show shut down immediately, with networks airing reruns.
However, late night shows were simply the first to take action, but shutdowns from other shows — including daytime talk shows, series and more — across networks and streamers have (and continue to) followed.
Programs including The View acknowledged live on air that their content would look different in the coming weeks. (In fact, Whoopi Goldberg warned fans that The View will not be funny without their writers at work!)
Here's a list of TV shows and films that have paused production amid the WGA strike:
A Night of the Seven Kingdoms: The Hedge Knight
Daredevil: Born Again
Jimmy Kimmel Live!
Late Night with Seth Meyers
Power Book III: Raising Kanan
Saturday Night Live
The Late Show
The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon
The Venery of Samantha Bird
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