WGA – Writers’ Strike – what does it mean for the industry?

It’s that time of year again when a lot of the North American shows come to an end for their respective television seasons.

But how will the current Writers’ Strike have an impact on those shows that haven’t
wrapped their seasons yet?

If you can remember back to the Writers’ Strike by the Writers’ Guild of America (WGA)
back in 2007, because of the time of the strike, it actually affected a few shows with their
big “May Sweeps” episodes that were scheduled to air.

Sweep months (November, February and May) are known as the months where networks
would ask for a higher rate from advertisers, due to those being the months when either
Winter or Mid-Season finales (November), Mini-Hiatus (February) or Season finales (May)
would traditionally air.

So, when the 2007 WGA strike occurred, it coincided with when most writers were penning their season finales (and massive cliff hangers) for their respective shows.

This year’s WGA strike is on later in the year to when the 2007 was held, so most shows
have wrapped their seasons. But what about for those shows who haven’t wrapped or are
need a writer on deck, like a live show?

The majority of those shows have stopped filming or not crossing the picket line as they say, because most need a writer on set if there are rewrites. The biggest casualty being Saturday Night Live, which relies on writers to pump out their content for their Guest Host and huge regular and recurring performers.

So, how will networks fill in their gap if the strike lingers on?

Like when COVID first hit and filming was interrupted, thus causing a decrease in the episode order of TV shows, networks turned to Overseas shows or reruns to fill their schedule. The CW in USA has announced it has acquired Canadian and Australian shows during the upcoming US “Summer” season to fill their schedules, while most turn to reality
shows since a lot can get through without a writer being needed on set.

For Canadian, English, and Australian television, our productions should not be majorly affected because they are run by their country’s respective Guilds. But filming of US WGA
endorsed shows in those respective countries will be affected.

So, bottom line is, here’s hoping that the WGA works out a deal sooner rather than later.

If not, then it’s time to break out those old DVDs, like back in 2007, or turn on your favourite Streaming service and select a random show. Because you never know, you might just find a hidden gem of a show in the process!

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