Members of the Writers Guild of America (WGA) voted overwhelmingly earlier this year to authorize a strike if the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP), a trade association that represents more than 350 studios, did not approve a new contract with increased minimum compensation and larger contributions to pension and health plans. Union members are prohibited from working on their shows as of Tuesday.
“Though our negotiating committee began this process intent on making a fair deal, the studios’ responses have been wholly insufficient given the existential crisis writers are facing,” WGA said on social media, noting that six weeks of deliberations with firms such as Netflix, Amazon, Sony, and Disney under the AMPTP umbrella ultimately failed to produce a new contract.
Colbert was scheduled to host Priyanka Chopra Jonas and Chita Rivera on Tuesday, while celebrities such as Chris Hayes and Michael J. Fox were scheduled to appear later in the week, according to a report from Deadline. Fallon was supposed to welcome Ken Jeong, Jennifer Lopez, and JJ Watt this week, while Kimmel was slated to host Dr. Phil and Ricky Gervais. The shows are instead expected to air reruns on Tuesday.
Production for shows such as “Real Time With Bill Maher,” “Saturday Night Live,” and “Last Week Tonight With John Oliver” is also expected to cease this week, according to a WGA memo recently obtained by The Los Angeles Times. The document noted that production delays could inhibit the ability of Disney, Paramount Global, and Comcast NBCUniversal to produce episodes for the fall network television season, while streaming platforms carrying broadcast shows would likewise be impacted.
Meyers said on his Monday show that he supports the strike and wants his writers to receive higher pay.
“No one is entitled to a job in show business. But for those people who have a job, they are entitled to fair compensation,” he said, as recorded by Deadline. “They are entitled to make a living. I think it’s a very reasonable demand that’s being set out by the Guild. And I support those demands.”
Kimmel and Colbert were impacted by a similar strike between 2007 and 2008, when WGA members picketed for three months as a result of failed contract negotiations, causing production delays and shortened seasons for multiple studios.
The current strike occurs as the shift toward streaming contributes to diminished profits in television and cinema. WGA officials also cited the advent of artificial intelligence as a possible mechanism to increase work capacity for screenwriters, a phenomenon which could enable studios to decrease their headcounts and thereby provoked calls from the union to regulate material produced with the technology.
The union previously said that firms have “used the transition to streaming to cut writer pay and separate writing from production, worsening working conditions for series writers at all levels.” The share of writers working at the minimum standards established by the most recent WGA contract has risen substantially in recent years, producing a 23% median compensation decline when adjusted for inflation, even as series budgets increase.