The writers’ strike started May 2 and no end is in sight. A growing number of an already large list of television shows have been put on hold due to the ongoing writers’ strike. The shows to be shut down include all late-night talk shows (except Gutfeld!).
Jimmy Kimmel was asked if his show would return this summer and responded, “I’m not optimistic. I think it’s going to be a long strike.”
Some of the general public may not be aware of what the writers’ strike is all about, what’s at stake, and why there even is a strike. If you’ve read a handful of articles about the strike and still you’re not understanding what it’s about or just why there is a strike, it really is quite simple when getting to the bottom of it. It all comes down to money — everything is about money.
The writers’ strike all comes down to money. And when there are two sides who need to work together yet fight each other over how that money should be spent, the two sides need to come to some sort of resolution. One side is going to get a win on one issue and yet may have to give something to the other side on another issue. In a negotiation, each side needs to win, or at least try to make it seem like the other side won a little bit. There needs to be compromises.
The Writer’s Guild of America (WGA) has stated that the negotiations with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) are ongoing but far from reaching a deal. And further reports say that a deal is far from being made at this time. So what exactly is keeping late-night TV and so much more of the entertainment industry on hold?
Pay raise for writers
One of the major topics in the negotiations is regarding pay. Two years ago, the average pay for a writer was just above $69,000. The WGA has proposed a 5-6% increase with the AMPTP countering a 2-4% increase. It’s not unfair to ask for a raise, every employee should ask their employer for a raise at some point. And a lot has changed in the past two years, inflation has risen drastically since 2020.
Transparency from streaming companies
The WGA has asked for transparency from streaming companies. They demand to know the viewership from the platforms and want additional residuals from the streamers based on viewership. This was quickly rejected by the AMPTP. Streaming companies have essentially kept streaming data a secret from the public. Streamers have stated that this information is proprietary to their corporation.
The WGA is also looking for new minimum terms of employment. The WGA wants 10 weeks of consecutive work and protections for the writers. With the change in the industry since the rise of streaming services, production has changed. Work orders may vary with some shows having smaller orders of episodes and the duration of work can vary.
The AMPTP has demanded that writers be exclusive or first-priority to the streamer past their guaranteed work period. This prevents writers from being free to seek other work on other projects. This limits the guarantee of work and opportunities for writers.
Both sides, the WGA and the AMPTP, have arguments to be made during their negotiations.
The ongoing question will be how long will these negotiations take? And will either side give into any of the other side’s demands?