There’s seemingly no end in sight for the actors or writers strikes even as the fall TV season — the window for when networks premiere their biggest shows — approaches fast. The Writers Guild of America and SAG-AFTRA and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) need to find common ground by October 1 if scripted shows have a chance to air during the 2023-24 broadcast season, according to Deadline.
Regular development is on hold while the writers and actors strike which leaves the fate of multiple TV shows and movie projects in limbo. If a deal isn’t reached, networks will have a lot of programming gaps to fill. The WGA strike has been going on for over 130 days, and the entertainment industry is already showing signs of strain. For the most part, American viewers support the actors and writers on strike according to a Gallup poll.
In the meantime, networks have reached for unscripted content to fill empty space. ABC game shows like Celebrity Jeopardy!, Celebrity Wheel of Fortune, Shark Tank, AFV, The Golden Bachelor and The Bachelor in Paradise all claimed primetime slots going into October. FOX has turned to reality TV with some animated shows and sports events in the mix.
The programming shake-up – and the possible overload of reality shows – is just the latest fallout stemming from the Hollywood strikes, which have pitted writers and actors against the studios in an increasingly bitter fight. So far, the motion picture and sound recording industries have lost 17,000 jobs “reflecting strike activity,” according to an employment report from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. Warner Bros. Discovery alone warned it could lose up to $500 million in adjusted earnings for 2023 amid the strikes.
With writers and actors prepared to picket into next year, we’re likely to see more job and financial loss juxtaposed against increasingly rare successes like Barbie and Oppenheimer.
The Writers Guild America and SAG-AFTRA are demanding concessions like increased pay and job security. The viewer migration to streaming services has impacted how writers get paid, and writers have argued the new model doesn’t fairly compensate them. Streamed shows have fewer episodes and longer breaks between seasons in comparison to broadcast TV series. This means smaller paychecks for writers. There are also far fewer residuals, or those checks paid out to writers and actors after the show airs. SAG-AFTRA is striking in solidarity with writers but has its own list of demands – higher pay along with more contributions to pension and healthcare funds as well as recalculated residuals members are paid through streaming service revenue. The union also wants changes for the self-taping audition process and, like writers, protection against the use of AI.