As of today the Writers Guild of America (WGA) has voted to go on strike following weeks of fruitless negotiations with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers. The AMPTP represents Netflix, Amazon, Apple, Disney, Discovery-Warner, NBC Universal, Paramount and Sony.
The negotiations stem from what the WGA West calls an “existential crisis writers are facing.” As the union elaborated in its press release,
The companies’ behavior has created a gig economy inside a union workforce, and their immovable stance in this negotiation has betrayed a commitment to further devaluing the profession of writing. From their refusal to guarantee any level of weekly employment in episodic television, to the creation of a “day rate” in comedy variety, to their stonewalling on free work for screenwriters and on AI for all writers, they have closed the door on their labor force and opened the door to writing as an entirely freelance profession. No such deal could ever be contemplated by this membership.
I'm incredibly proud of how transparent our union is. In the @WGAWest's strike announcement, we included a list of our proposals, and the AMPTP's responses. Read it for yourself: it explains in black and white we're forced to go on strike. pic.twitter.com/U2FLsv9Dob
— Adam Conover (@adamconover) May 2, 2023
As a result of the writer’s strike late night shows like Jimmy Kimmel Live! will be put on hold. In the meantime viewers will have to make do with reruns.
But what does this mean for some of our favorite shows like Halo, The Witcher, The Last of Us and others? Unfortunately they’ll all be impacted like the rest of the industry…though not immediately. The last time the WGA went on strike was in 2007, with that strike lasting 100 days and disrupting some of the biggest shows of the time like Lost and Breaking Bad.
But since that was before the advent of streaming platforms like Netflix, which tend to wrap up show production well in advance of release. As an example, The Witcher season 3 won’t likely be affected as its already in the pipeline, with a premiere date of June 27th. This means production has already most likely wrapped and the third season is now in pre-production.
However, shows still in production phase could be affected down the line. As in the case of Halo, which is in the midst of season 2 production. While Halo season 2 does not have a premiere date, it could very possibly be pushed back thanks to the strike, especially if it turns out to be a protracted one. The same goes for season 2 of The Last of Us. Here’s hoping the parties involved in writer’s strike can settle their differences quickly.