Writers’ Strike: All TV Shows and Movies Affected by Studios Refusing To Pay Writers
The Writers Guild of America (WGA) announced a strike on May 1, 2023, after its three-year contract with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) expired, and the AMPTP failed to provide a satisfactory new agreement after weeks of negotiations. The WGA attempted to secure protections for Hollywood writers, including increased compensation, guaranteed duration of employment for those who land writing jobs, improved residuals, and confirmation that studios cannot replace workers with artificial intelligence (AI). These terms would’ve resulted in writers gaining $429 million per year, while the AMPTP’s offer would gain them just $86 million per year.
As a result of the AMPTP’s unsatisfactory offers, the WGA issued a strike, obligating all 11,500 WGA members to refrain from providing writing services until a new contract is agreed upon. The last time the WGA went on strike was in 2007, but the time to strike has become necessary once more as the rise of streaming has changed the industry profoundly. Streaming has made the residuals that writers once relied upon far lower and more sporadic and resulted in shorter and less secure employment stints. Between streaming, mini rooms, shorter seasons, and the loss of rerun residuals, Hollywood is finding it increasingly easy to not pay writers for their work, despite writers being essential to its success.
It’s unclear how long the current strike will continue, but the previous one lasted over three months. Which is why many believe this one is expected to last as long or even longer. Many are curious about what this means for all the shows and films in development that employed members of the WGA. The strike means that many shows will inevitably be delayed or will simply air reruns until a resolution is reached. While this news is disappointing for some, it’s important to remember that these shows and movies aren’t being impacted by the WGA’s strike. They are being impacted by Hollywood’s refusal to accept very reasonable demands from the WGA and to appropriately compensate those who secure employment in the TV/film writing industry.
Here are all of the TV shows and films that have been delayed, suspended, or put on hold until Hollywood begins paying its writers fairly.
Late night talk shows and soap operas
Late night talk shows are usually the very first shows impacted by writers’ strikes, while soap operas are the second. The reason why late night talk shows get hit the earliest is that the shows can’t be written in advance. The writing for these shows typically isn’t complete until just before taping begins to ensure they are capturing the most timely, relevant, and current topics. Viewers may be surprised at how much writers contribute to talk shows, but it’s usually their notes, jokes, topics, and witty one-liners that make the show’s monologues so smooth and engaging. Hence, it’s just not plausible for the majority of these shows to continue, unless they rely mostly on improv or unscripted content. For this reason, the following scripted late night/daytime talk shows and sketch comedies will only air reruns for the foreseeable future:
- Jimmy Kimmel Live!
- The Late Show with Stephen Colbert
- The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon
- Late Night with Seth Meyers
- The Daily Show
- Real Time With Bill Maher
- Last Week Tonight With John Oliver
- Saturday Night Live
- The Talk
Daytime soap operas are another area of television anticipated to be hit early by the WGA strike. This is because the majority of soap operas, while not operating on quite as tight schedules as talk shows, are typically written and filmed in a shorter timeframe than other TV shows. So far, no soap operas have begun airing reruns yet. However, once the WGA strike catches up with the shorter production schedule, these shows are anticipated to go dark as well:
- The Young and the Restless
- Days of Our Lives
- The Bold and the Beautiful
- General Hospital
Streaming original TV shows
With shorter seasons, faster production processes, and the inability to air reruns, streaming shows lack some of the flexibility that network shows boast and will quickly feel the WGA strike’s impact. Many shows that had scripts completed are still forced to delay filming and production because the writing process never really ends. With no writers to tackle rewrites, track continuity, or deal with budget and production issues, many streaming shows that were filming or approaching filming have paused production.
The Mandalorian season 4 is expected to be delayed due to the writer’s strike. The show is still awaiting an official season 4 renewal from Disney but was reportedly already looking to begin production on the new season in September. Even though the scripts are already complete, Deadline reported that production is still anticipated to be delayed due to the lack of a writer on set during the strike.
The Last of Us
The Last of Us season 2 was to begin casting soon, having actors audition with material from The Last of Us Part II video game due to the lack of a season 2 script. However, according to Variety, the audition process has been put on hold due to the strike. Additionally, the show’s co-creators, Craig Mazin and Neil Druckmann, will not be doing any work on the script for the duration of the strike.
Cobra Kai‘s sixth and final season was set to begin production this spring. However, co-creator Jon Hurwitz confirmed that production on the show has been halted, as the strike left the Cobra Kai set with no writers.
Stranger Things season 5 was supposed to begin filming this month, but the Duffer brothers announced that filming would be put on hold for the duration of the strike.
Daredevil: Born Again
Filming for Daredevil: Born Again season 1 has been underway since March 6, 2023, in New York. However, filming has now reportedly been halted due to the strike.
Filming on Severance season 2 was supposed to wrap on May 12, 2023. However, production shut down early on May 8, 2023, due to the writers’ strike.
Production for Evil season 4 was underway when the strike began, forcing the show to wrap up its production earlier than anticipated. It is unknown how many episodes were completed before the premature shutdown.
Andor season 2 filming is still underway, but showrunner Tony Gilroy has stepped back from all duties (writing and non-writing) in support of the WGA strike, which could lead to production being halted or delayed in the future.
Season 4 of The Upshaws has halted production, though 10 of the season’s 12 episodes were completed beforehand and will air on Netflix on August 17.
A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms: The Hedge Knight
The Games of Thrones prequel, A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms: The Hedge Knight, was in early production for HBO Max. However, it has halted production and closed its writing room for the duration of the strike.
Apple TV+’s Loot season 2 was filming when the strike began. Picketing writers succeeded in halting production and it is currently on hold.
Pretty Little Liars: Summer School
Filming of the newest Pretty Little Liars spin-off, Pretty Little Liars: Summer School, was disrupted by the strike on May 11, 2023, for several hours.
Production of Apple TV+’s upcoming show, Sinking Spring, was temporarily shut down for a day due to picketing writers.
Hacks co-creator Jen Statsky confirmed that production on season 3 was halted due to the writers’ strike.
Production on Unstable season 2, which began in late March, was reportedly shut down on May 4 by the writers’ strike.
Network and cable TV shows
Network and cable shows, many of which were in early production, are also beginning to feel the effects of the WGA strike.
ABC scripted shows
In light of the strike, ABC is falling back on its unscripted content while putting most of its scripted content on hold. As a result, most of the network’s major series, including 9-1-1, Abbott Elementary, The Good Doctor, Grey’s Anatomy, High Potential, Not Dead Yet, The Rookie, Station 19, Will Trent, The Rookie: Feds, and Home Economics, will not be receiving new season release dates or renewals for the time being.
Abbott Elementary was set to open its writing room on May 1, 2023, coinciding with the onset of the call to strike. As a result, writing on season 3 has been suspended indefinitely.
Similar to Abbott Elementary, Yellowjackets season 3 writers had one day in the writers’ room before it shut down for the duration of the strike.
Starz show P-Valley has halted its production on season 3 for the duration of the strike, as confirmed by showrunner Katori Hall.
Billions season 7 production has been temporarily shut down twice due to picketers, but it is still attempting to complete filming.
Production on season 7 of Disney Channel’s Bunk’d has been halted for the duration of the strike.
FBI: Most Wanted
FBI: Most Wanted season 5 filming was temporarily halted due to picketers on May 11 before resuming after several hours.
Power Book II: Ghost
Power Book II: Ghost season 4 production, like FBI: Most Wanted, also experienced a temporary halt on May 11 before resuming.
The fifth season of Freeform’s Good Trouble temporarily halted filming for a day on May 9 due to WGA picketing.
It will take longer for viewers to see the impact of Hollywood’s refusal to pay writers fairly on theatrical films. This is because the majority of films slated for release in 2023 and 2024 have already concluded filming. So far, the only films confirmed to have halted production due to the WGA strike are Blade and Thunderbolts. Both are upcoming MCU films that were aiming to release in 2024. They were expected to begin filming this summer, but both productions have been put on hold until after the WGA strike.
More films with late 2024 or 2025 release dates will likely be impacted by the absence of WGA writers in the future as their production approaches.
(featured image: NBCUniversal / CBS / ABC / Netflix)
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