In 2007, members of the Writers Guild of America, a labor union of writers for various industries including film and television, began a one hundred day strike in protest of low writers’ funding compared to studios’ copious profits. The strike resulted in the American film industry losing an estimated $380 million and cost the writers nearly $285 million in lost wages.
Now, a landslide vote of 96% of the WGAW and WGAE has authorized yet another strike against the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, which will ensue if the trade association does not meet their demands by May 1st, the date which their contract expires. Again, one of the most contentious issues of the strike is a raise in wages for writers. While the television industry is still a booming business, episode orders per series are slowly diminishing due to an increasing trend of shorter seasons (usually ten episodes or less–a dramatic change from traditional network show runs.) The Guild is also demanding workers’ right to work on multiple projects, better health care benefits, and streaming residuals which would be tantamount to traditional reruns.
Shows that will be affected by this lack of working writers include The Walking Dead, American Horror Story, Jessica Jones, Star Trek: Discovery, and The Mindy Project. However, post-production shows such as Game of Thrones, Showtime’s Twin Peaks remake, Orange Is The New Black, Orphan Black, American Gods, Outlander, Preacher, and Stranger Things are safe from the strike’s expected losses.
As Hillary Vaughn of Fox News points out, shows like Saturday Night Live, The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, and Full Frontal with Samantha Bee–all of which are known for mocking and satirizing President Trump–will likely be affected by the strike, and this may benefit Trump’s public image.
Studios are fearing another financial bruise like the one experienced in 2007, and are earnestly trying to avoid another strike. In an official statement, the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers said,
“The 2007 Writers Strike hurt everyone. Writers lost more than $287 million in compensation that was never recovered, deals were cancelled, and many writers took out strike loans to make ends meet. We remain focused on our objective of reaching a deal with the WGA at the bargaining table when the guild returns on April 25th.”
Media consumers across the country fretfully await the outcome of the tension between the WGA-W/E and the AMPTP. Another one hundred day strike could take an incredible toll on both the film/television industry and Los Angeles’ economy, as well as cut short any current pre-production TV series. The strike could also have a negative impact on box office revenue for some movies. May 1st may well be the day that defines television and media success for the latter half of 2017.