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Writers Guild Authorizes Strike

Writers Guild Authorizes Strike

Shows such as The Big Bang Theory, The Tonight Show and Saturday Night Live are among those that could be affected.

The membership of the Writers Guild of America have voted to authorize its leadership to order a walkout.

We'll get to what each side wants later, but first up, let's look at what on-screen product will look like if a strike happens. This already makes the 2017 situation much different from what happened in 2007, since everyone saw that strike coming.

The May deadline means that many popular TV shows have finished production, so the effects of the strike wouldn't be as visible right away. The Washington Post reported that many series like 30 Rock and Heroes had to cut short their seasons to cope with the writers walking out and Celebrity Apprentice was put on air. If working time per episode exceeds that number of weeks, the writer would receive an additional payment calculated pro rata based on his episode fee. Prior to the strike authorization, major film and television studios seemed unlikely to acquiesce to these demands without the imminent threat of a labor stoppage, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Summer TV will be screwed as well and even production for fall shows will most likely be delayed, screwing up not just your summer internship, but your fall internship as well.

Picketers during the 2007/2008 WGA strike. "Star Trek Discovery", the new "Trek" series destined for CBS All Access, will be midway through filming its first season. A strike may end up being the time viewers just catch up on all that good TV they missed.

A traditional broadcast series runs 22 to 24 episode, but now shows on cable or streaming services like Netflix and Amazon are running, on average, 12 to 13 episodes. But the guild said the studios have said "no" to nearly all of its demands. That effectively lowers a writer's weekly pay.

The vote was not open to all WGA West and WGA East members, but only to those who have worked under AMPTP contract during the past six years and those with 15 or more years in pension plan. By comparison, 90% of the 2007 - 2008 guild had voted yes to authorizing a strike.

"None of us want a strike", Chris Keyser, co-chair of the WGA's negotiating committee, said in a podcast produced by the guild before the strike authorization vote.

Wages are a big sticking point here, but they aren't the only motivating factor.

The WGA leadership is expected to resume talks with studios on Tuesday. The union counters that nearly $34 billion of that profit comes from work written by Writers Guild members.


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