Movie and TV writers’ union gives go-head to strike

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The union representing thousands of Hollywood movie and television writers has called for a strike effective 12:01 a.m. PT on Tuesday.

It is the first such Writers Guild of America (WGA) strike since 2007; the latter action began November 5, 2007 and lasted until February 12, 2008. 

Picketing for the current strike is scheduled to begin Tuesday afternoon. 

WGA representatives have been negotiating unsuccessfully with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) over how writers are paid in the streaming era, which has dramatically changed the way shows are made and monetized. That in turn has effected how writers are hired, for how long, and how they’re compensated.

In its statement, the WGA noted, in part, “The decision was made following six weeks of negotiations with Netflix, Amazon, Apple, Disney, Discovery-Warner, NBC Universal, Paramount and Sony…”

The statement continues, “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…”

How will a writers’ strike affect what we watch? You may not see the effect immediately in streaming and film, since many studios now have much more content in the pipeline for distribution across multiple platforms, meaning there would not be such an immediate drought of scripted TV. 

Late-night TV, on the other hand, will once again be the quickest area to be impacted. Reruns of late-nights shows begin Tuesday night, and production on Saturday Night Live also will likely grind to a halt.

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