The Writers Guild of America’s strike, which started in May, has now been revealed something endsWhat will happen now?
There’s a lot we don’t know yet. WGA members must vote to approve the contract. This will likely happen quickly, but no timeline has been given. Here are some details, summarized From the WGA’s website:
- Once the agreement is approved, basic minimum wages will increase by 5%. They will increase by an additional 4% in spring 2024 and 3.5% the following year.
- AI was a major sticking point, and what both sides agreed on was that “AI cannot write or rewrite literary material, and AI-generated material will not be considered source material under the (contract); This means that AI-generated material cannot be used to undermine an author’s reputation or reserved rights.”
- A new viewership-based streaming payout bonus will be applied to TV shows and movies “watched by 20% or more of the service’s domestic subscribers within the first 90 days of release.”
- This also means that broadcasters agree to provide the WGA with “the total number of broadcast hours, both domestic and international, of their own produced high-budget broadcast programs (e.g. a Netflix original series), subject to a confidentiality agreement.” This is a relatively limited slice of data (publishers use all kinds of metrics, including things like completion rate, to evaluate value) but this is the first time this has happened any The amount of flow transparency is codified in a contract. For the rest of us who don’t have this secret knowledge, the data may still be murky.
Next up is signing contracts for actors represented by SAG-AFTRA who continue to strike. WGA members probably continue picketing Even though the actors are still on strike, it’s unclear whether the writers will return to work.
Most likely, an agreement will be reached with the players quickly. Everyone wants to get back to work, and if the studios are motivated enough to work out a mutually acceptable contract with the writers after all this time, it’s probably safe to assume they’re ready to make it work with the actors, too.
When this happens, it means crew members who were out of work for much of the strike will be back on the job. So this is good news for everyone working in the film industry, including the participants who are probably breathing a sigh of relief.
Talk shows — late night and daytime — will likely return to TV first. One has to wonder what the atmosphere will be like for the returning staff on “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” following allegations of a toxic workplace. reported earlier this month and after the host on “The Drew Barrymore Show.” originally planned He wanted to continue his show earlier this month despite the strike, but changed his mind after the decision received bad press and pushback from the WGA personally.
When it comes to scripted series, it will take a while for things to pick up again. On network TV, we probably won’t see new episodes of weekly shows return until sometime in the new year. You can expect a 13-episode season to kick off the winter instead of the typical 22-episode season for “Chicago Fire” and similar shows. In terms of writers mapping out the season and polishing the initial scripts and getting them ready to shoot, the numbers I’ve heard are around 8 to 10 weeks.
On the broadcast side, this means that every show that has been halted in production, including “Stranger Things,” will resume once the actors are also free to return to work. Programs that were in development but were paused during the strike also returned to the game. Publishing is an unstable business, and there’s always the chance that executives will decide to walk away from any number of projects that are in various stages of development when strikes begin. Broadcasters, on the other hand, also have a pipeline problem: They don’t have the endless backlog of new programs they’ll need in 2024, even if the number is much lower than in previous years.
It’s harder to parse things out on the film side. Work on non-independent projects, including next summer’s blockbusters, has been at a standstill for months. I suspect there will be a lot of pressure to speed up various projects in an effort to make up for lost time. Many studios had pushed fall premieres back to 2024, worrying that movies would flop without the actors to promote them.
We should see these contracts approved in the next few weeks, but studios will soon have to deal with frustrated workers in other areas of the industry. Marvel VFX artists earlier this month voted unionize. There’s renewed interest among reality TV cast and crew unionize. The studios’ contracts with the Animation Guild and IATSE, which represents most of the crew, also expire next year.
Nina Metz is a Tribune critic.