The writers are on strike; what does that mean to you?
Nikki Finke of Deadline Hollywood Daily had live blogged last minute negotiation attempts between the WGA and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP). However, when members of the WGA on the East coast walked out, talks on the west coast were over. Reportedly, the AMPTP had tried to convince the WGA to delay the strike to talks could continue.
According to ABC News, WGA Spokesperson Sherry Goldman reports that negotiations are ongoing; however, the strike has moved forward in the meantime. Apparently, during Sunday negotiations, the Writer's Guild removed DVD residuals from the negotiations, which would have doubled writers' residuals. However, the AMPTP's refusal to budge on Internet residuals made the negotiations something of a joke.
Neither side is officially name-calling at this point. However, the WGA side seems to feel that they took a huge talking point off the table (currently, writers don't receive very much profit from DVD sales and rentals at all, let alone the fact that they make nothing from Internet downloads) with little to no movement from the producers.
The first shows to be impacted by the strike will be the late-night comedies. I hope you have stockpile of David Letterman, Jay Leno, Conan O'Brien, The Daily Show, and Stephen Colbert on your TiVo, because as of tonight, they will be in re-runs.
The next to be hit will be the soap operas, which film about two or three weeks ahead of time. Your favorite primetime shows likely won't be affected until January sometime. The writers of Brothers and Sisters wrote a heartfelt blog post to their readers last night before they put pencils down, saying the episode they had feverishly worked to finish would likely air then.
I have seen some talk, and forgive me for not linking, but I have read about this widely over the weekend, that the networks will likely try to draw out the time they have with their remaining scripts, so we may see shows start to intersperse re-runs with the new episodes. It is also likely what we will see an increase in the airing of reality TV shows, unless the strike is resolved fairly soon.
The last WGA strike occurred in 1988, and lasted for 22 weeks. Shows like Cheers took major hits during the strike, with viewers tuning out and approximately 10% of reviewers never returning. The financial cost to the industry was $500 million. I can only imagine what that number looks like twenty years later.