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The Right to Write

By Sania Daniyal

It has been approximately four weeks since the Writers Guild of America strike began in early May, and many wonder why many of their favorite shows have stopped production. The emergence of streaming has caused writers to suffer financially, causing a resounding 98% of WGA members to vote in favor of a strike, which was declared on May 2, 2023. Writers cite specific issues including minimum fees, royalties, staffing requirements and artificial intelligence in script production as the primary reasons for the strike.

Source by Guneet Hanjra

Hollywood writers form a picket line around major studios after failed attempts to negotiate a fair contract.

Due to their tight deadlines for capturing current events, late-night programs were the first to end. Film studio executives plan to fill the gap in programming by producing more reality TV, foreign films and by airing reruns of late-night programs. Reruns of "Jimmy Kimmel Live," "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon" and "Late Night With Seth Meyers" have been broadcast during the strike.

“I think I may be one of the only 18-year-olds whose daily life is actually affected by this strike,” senior Ryan Guerrero said. “I watch ‘The Tonight Show,’ ‘Saturday Night Live’ and ‘Last Week Tonight,’ which are all shows that rely on writers everyday in order to keep these shows that rely on current events topical in such a short period of time. The studios/networks all make large sums of money and have been showing less and less of it to their writers who work so hard and deserve their cut.”

Many celebrities have taken to the streets of Hollywood to express their solidarity with the writers. Since May 2, several well-known actors have been spotted picketing, including Lin-Manuel Miranda, John Mulaney, Bill Nye and Pete Davidson. Many other celebrities have supported writers in their negotiation efforts with entertainment executives. In a red carpet interview with Variety, Amanda Seyfried said, “everything changed with streaming, and everybody needs to be compensated for their work.”

The vast majority of network TV series have finished filming for the summer and are currently on break. If a deal is not made before the end of May or June when many writers’ rooms start to meet, the strike could last for months and jeopardize the autumn premiere schedule. Many shows that had their season (or series) finales premiere in May completed filming before the strike. The current seasons of "Chicago Fire," "Chicago P.D." and "Chicago Med," for instance, were not impacted by the strike and will wrap as planned, according to Entertainment Weekly.

“I am absolutely not worried about the impact of the strike on my favorite shows,” junior Guranaad Kaur said. “In fact, I hope it impacts them because that’s how you know the strike is working. I strongly believe that the writers’ financial and personal well-being is much more important than entertaining the whims of a financially comfortable consumer.”

This strike hits close to home for the faculty and staff involved in the Sewanhaka Federation of Teachers Union. They received an email from the American Federation of Teachers entailing details about a protest in support of the WGA strike.

“As an SFT building representative, I feel that it is important to support other labor union bodies in order to ensure that all individuals are being treated in a fair and equitable manner,” English teacher Mr. Stencel said.


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