The cancellation reaper usually captures a few US TV shows a week, but he could be about to ground ALL of them in one swoop, courtesy of the looming writers’ strike.
The proposed strike by the Writers Guild of America could result in script/production/scheduling delays, shortened seasons, and of course, cancellations.
The Writers Guild of America for the first time has explicitly said it will indeed strike this year if its current contract expires May 1 without a renewed deal in place with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers. The statement appears likely to escalate tensions over the possibility of a walkout.
“In the event that we are unable to negotiate a new contract with the AMPTP, a work stoppage will begin May 2nd,” said the guild in a letter sent Tuesday to media buyers. “Should this occur, writing for television, feature films and digital series will cease.”
Five days of negotiations are scheduled to begin Monday. WGA member meetings and an online strike authorization vote are set for April 18-24, which would then leave just a few days until contract expiration.
Per Vanity Fair:
The guild sent a letter to advertisers on Tuesday to alert them that a “potential labor dispute” (a.k.a. the strike) might soon have an impact on their business.
“With the cable networks’ Upfronts underway and the broadcast networks’ Upfronts beginning in May, I am writing to inform you of a potential labor dispute that could have a significant impact on primetime programming for the 2017-2018 television season,” says a letter sent to a media-buying firm by David J. Young, executive director of Writers Guild of America West, per Variety. “As a stakeholder that may be negatively affected by this dispute, this information may be relevant to your media buying plans.”
This time, a strike would fall during the broadcast series’ hiatus (and during the networks’ upfront presentation in New York where they will present their fall lineups to advertisers). Additionally, only a portion of the series have been renewed, with the fate of the rest up in the air, making prepping episodes for next season a dicey proposition. Having just wrapped current seasons, writers are off, so even the series with early renewals are not working on scripts for next season. There has been chatter that some daytime soaps may have been accumulating extra scripts in the face of a potential strike; because of their year-round production cycle and daily airings, daytime dramas, along with late-night programs, are the first affected by a walkout.
Per The Guardian:
The writers say they are losing revenue every year – 23% in the last two years alone – and are tethered to deals that undermine job security and constrain their ability to earn a living. Seasons of scripted television are getting shorter but the length of the writers’ contracts is not, so writers can easily find themselves bound to an employer who is no longer paying them – for months on end. Worst of all, they earn only a fraction of what they used to in residuals, the royalties paid for reruns and syndication, which makes it harder to make ends meet during fallow times.
Stay tuned as we monitor the looming writers strike and the consequences it will no doubt have on the TV industry and your favorite shows, should it move forward…