In this heady era of “Peak TV,” the sheer volume of #content — on television, online, and even in them old-fashioned moving picture houses — is overwhelming and exhausting. How can we ever watch all the shows and movies everyone is talking about, all around us? Well, come May 2, we might have a chance to catch up – because it could all stop.
THR reports that the Writers Guild of America sent a letter to media buyers on Tuesday, promising that, unless an agreement is reached with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, its members will go on strike when its current contract expires on May 1. That means, starting May 2, all scripted film and television production would cease — no movies, no sitcoms, no procedurals, no network, no cable, no Netflix, no Amazon, no web series, no nothing. Late-night comedy and talk shows would feel the hit first; the domino effect would be felt on television and film for months or even years to come, depending on how long it takes the writers’ and producers’ guilds to come to terms.
The letter also included some details about the deal the WGA is seeking — a total of $178 million annually, spread out across several of the largest networks and media companies. Your correspondent frankly can’t tell you whether that’s a fair amount, but if anyone’s getting screwed, it’s usually the writer, so we’re siding with the scribes here.
The last industry-wide writers’ strike ran for roughly three and a half months in late 2007 and early 2008, long enough to not only greatly impact programming for that season, but ad revenues (hence the letter to media buyers) and ratings. Were any lessons learned? Stay tuned.