You may or may not remember the writers’ strike of 2007-2008, but you do remember how convoluted the plot of Heroes got towards the end of season two, so that’s a good frame of reference. That strike took place for 100 days from November 2007 to February 20008, which interrupted production on basically every show you could think of at the time, besides Real Housewives which, believe it or not, is not scripted.
Now that the Writers Guild is striking again, many are wondering what this means for the next wave of shows, specifically for streaming series with overworked writers’ rooms and minimal residuals. The WGA is looking for better pay and structural changes, mostly at Netflix and other streaming services, due to the changes they ushered in. Netflix infamously uses smaller writers’ rooms called “mini-rooms” where writers hash out a series for 10 weeks before having to look for another job. This, the WGA says, is not sustainable.
But Hollywood insiders seem to think that this strike will last pretty long. Tara Kole, the co-founder of entertainment law firm JSSK, says that this has been a long time coming with no end in sight. “Any hope that this would be fast has faded. I hate to say it, but it’s going to be a while,” she told The New York Times.
Dozens of big-budget productions have been shut down or postponed, including Stranger Things, Severance, and basically every talk show out there. The chair of the WGA negotiation committee Chris Keyser confirmed that the strike won’t stop until an agreement is reached. “They’re going to stay out until something changes because they can’t afford not to,” he explained. The WGA currently includes over 11,000 writers across Hollywood.
Even though production has halted, many actors and showrunners have shown their support for the strike. The Ted Lasso crew stepped out to strike, along with Ayo Edebiri and Pete Davidson, who was set to host SNL before the season ended early due to the strike.
Paramount Global chief Bob Bakish recently told investors that the company is planning to “manage through this strike,” adding “even if it’s for an extended duration.” It sure does seem like it will last for an extended duration. Where is Conan O’Brien when you need him?!