WGA Strike 2023

Writers Guild of America Strike - 2023

How The Writers Strike Will Impact Future TV Shows

By Jennifer AJ

July 2023

This summer, the most talked about topic in Hollywood isn’t which film is firing up at the box office (because most of them are underperforming) or the latest gossip on an A-list star. No, the biggest piece of news this year is the ongoing strike by the Writers’ Guild of America (WGA). The strike that began on May 1 has continued without an end in sight, fueled by deadlocked negotiation between WGA and Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) over fair pay and hiring practice. 

Here’s how the strike will impact the future of the TV and movie industry.

Short Term: Delays

Already, the strike is causing production stoppages all over town. Late night shows disappeared from schedules immediately as the strike went into effect. People may not realize, but it’s all the writers - and not the hosts’ quick wits - behind those jokes and searing commentaries.

Writers rooms for hit shows like Cobra Kai, Abbott’s Elementary, and The Last of Us have shut down indefinitely. Upcoming seasons of Stranger Things, Euphoria and The Boys are also postponed despite having finished scripts. Even Marvel Studios’ might can’t escape the plight: they have officially delayed all TV and film projects in their slate. 

For Some, It’s Lights Out Forever

While high profile productions can weather the delays, it’s not the same for everyone. Delays mean cost for retaining cast and crew. Risky projects and indie productions who can’t afford it will be the hardest hit. Yet another sad reminder that whenever there is a crisis, it’s the weakest that suffer most. 

More Push for Reality Shows and International Contents 

In the absence of scripted programming, expect more reality shows to inundate the screen. This happened back in 2007 when WGA’s strike halted so many shows: reality competitions like The Amazing Race and Big Brother received additional episode orders to fill the gap. While streaming services with their steady rotations of shows have ample breathing room, linear TVs don’t have the same luxury. Either way, when there is no more series to air, networks and services will turn to different outlets to supply their pipeline.

International contents, where productions still proceed normally, will be the other answer. With the increasingly globalized taste of audiences, studios might turn their attention to robust entertainment industries in South Korea, India, Japan or Spain to fill their slate. It’s already happening, and it’ll be even more prominent as Hollywood continues to fight amongst themselves. 

WGA Strike march 2023

Toast from TikTok

And lest we forget, scripted contents are already fighting for eyeballs with social media and gaming. The younger generations are in no shortage of entertainment from TikTok, Youtube, Fortnite, and the likes. The landscape is getting more crowded and as the delays stretch longer, the industry must face the fact that their consumers are not as beholden to their availability as they once did. 

With the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) currently in their own looming strike over contract negotiations, general audiences will soon feel the lack of outputs from Hollywood. Studios playing hardball over justifiable pay raises is frankly killing their own game. While CEOs of Netflix, Disney, and HBO receive exorbitant paydays, writers who made them the hit shows increasingly get squeezed out of decent living. This is a turning point in Hollywood’s history: as the standard bearer for entertainment industries worldwide, the outcome of this strike will determine the future of not just TV, but the entire creative ecosystem.

Published on July 1st, 2023. Written by Jennifer Ariesta for Television Heaven.

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