How Does the Writers Guild Walkout Affect Viewers?

From The Poynter Report with Tom Jones:

The Writers Guild of America, which represents more than 11,000 screenwriters for TV and movies, has gone on strike — its first in 15 years. Negotiations with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, which represents the studios, are deadlocked after the most recent guild contract expired.

How will this affect the things you watch? And how long is this going to last?

Let’s start with the timing. It sounds as if there is a sizable gap between the two sides. There’s really no telling how long the work stoppage might be.

The Los Angeles Times’ Anousha Sakoui wrote, “The walkout, which could last for weeks or months, is expected to halt much of TV and film production nationwide and reverberate across Southern California, where prop houses, caterers, florists and others heavily depend on the entertainment economy. The previous writers’ strike in 2007 roiled the industry and lasted 100 days.”

Sakoui also noted, “The walkout will also mean temporary job losses for crew members and comes at a difficult time for the Los Angeles region, where many businesses are still attempting to recover from the effects of the pandemic and major employers are slashing payrolls. Hollywood studios have laid off thousands of workers as Wall Street investors punished them for losses linked to their streaming businesses.”

So what does this all mean for the viewer?

The first shows impacted are the late-night talk shows. The shows are taped during the day and air that night and include monologues with that day’s news. Starting Tuesday night, “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon,” “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert,” “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” and “Late Night With Seth Meyers” went to reruns.

The strike also will impact shows such as Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show” and Bill Maher’s HBO show. Those shows also are expected to air reruns.

“Saturday Night Live” has three live shows left in the season, starting with this weekend’s show that was supposed to have former cast member Pete Davidson as host. But the strike will shut down the show. So the saying, “Live from New York …” won’t actually be live. “SNL” will go to reruns.

After that, soap operas — only three remain on network TV — would be next. Those shows are usually shot weeks ahead of airing, but if the strike lasts long enough, they will eventually run out of written material.

As far as other network shows, or shows on streaming services such as Netflix or Hulu, The New York Times’ John Koblin and Brooks Barnes wrote, “If the strike is prolonged, viewers will begin to notice a dip in new TV series, though that will not become apparent until the end of the year. Reality series as well as international shows will begin playing in heavy rotation.”

But many of the network and streaming shows already have shows in the can.

And movies? There’s a long runway between when films are shot and produced and when they are released. So movies already scheduled for later this year are expected to be released as planned. Depending on how long the strike is, you might not even notice a change in movies.

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