There are only hours left now until a Writers Guild of America deadline for a new deal to avoid a strike. At issue here is how writers are paid for content on streaming services and how AI is used to write scripts. This would be the first major writers’ strike since the 2007 strike that lasted 100 days if it happens.
As Americans cut the cord and stopped paying for traditional pay-TV services like cable TV, it has affected how writers are paid for shows. This has driven the Writers Guild of America to ask for a larger cut of shows that stream online.
Part of the issue with streaming is the fact that most of the shows there are shorter than the ones that air on broadcast TV. A typical streaming show may only have 8 to 10 episodes. This means writers get less money for working on a streaming show vs a broadcast TV network show that may have 22 episodes.
Streaming shows can also have longer breaks between seasons meaning writers are left without work as they wait for the service to approve or start filming a new season. When you put this all together, the Writers Guild of America says the median salary of a streaming show writer is 46% of what they would make on a broadcast show. They are hoping to close that gap as streaming is becoming a bigger part of TV today.
The Writer Guild of America is also asking for safeguards to help prevent studios from using artificial intelligence to replace writers. The fear is studios will use AI to create new scripts cutting writers out of a job. In the talks, writers are including a demand that they not be asked to rewrite draft scrips created by AI.
The last time the Writers Guild of America went on strike, TV networks used reruns and more reality shows to fill the void. Well, some shows are already finished and can be aired if there is a strike, many shows will have to stop production.
Late-night talk shows will likely be the first hit as many use writers every day to help create their daily shows. Daytime talk shows like “The View” may also be impacted by this strike.
Other shows that are in development for later this year may also be delayed if this strike goes on.
If this strike lasts, it could have a noticeable impact on the traditional fall TV schedule. However, streaming services may have an easier time dealing with the strike because of their access to content from outside the United States.
Currently, 11:59 pm Pacific time tonight is the current deadline for a deal to be reached to avoid a strike. Negotiations have until then to extend the deadline or reach a deal to avoid a strike.