Fall TV Season Delayed? Writers Guild Of America Plans Strike, Demands More Flexibility

The peak television era is expected to face a disturbance in the coming weeks as the Writers Guild of America plans to launch a strike. The group announced their plan on Monday following the failed negotiations with authorities over the union's contract.

Though the demand for writers has increased nowadays, the wages continue to fall, the Writers Guild of America noted. According to members, the number of episodes in the TV series is kept less, which leads to the reduced pay for writers. They also stated that the script fees per episode are stretched over a longer period, which is as long as three weeks.

On the other hand, earlier script fees per episode were stretched to two weeks. The Writers Guild of America members also said that over two-thirds of the shows that were produced in 2015-16 had 13 or less episodes. Such factors have, therefore, affected the weekly pay of the writers. Hence, the writers have decided to step in for a launch of a strike if no mutual negotiation takes place between the WGA and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers until the deadline, May 1.

WGA members rally outside ABC Studio in New York in 2008
WGA members rally outside ABC Studio in New York in 2008 [Image by Mario Tama / Getty Images]

The alliance works on behalf of the major Hollywood studios and broadcast networks. Another meeting between the two parties has been scheduled on Tuesday, which is just a week ahead of the launch of the expected Writers Guild of America strike. The writers have also demanded to have more flexibility to work in more than one show per year. They note that the shows are mostly short-run and hence they need to ensure they don't stay without work for months.

The fall season for television is one of the most awaited times for audiences. This is the time when many new series or sequels of the previous series are introduced. If the strike lasts for more than a week, it is likely that the fall season gets delayed. The fall TV season might start from late-September as it used to be sometimes ago. It is believed that people addicted to late night shows will be more affected.

Furthermore, the production of high-profile cable and streaming shows like The Walking Dead and American Horror Story to name a few are scheduled to begin in May. Besides the aforementioned shows, the schedule of the Star Trek Discovery on CBS All Access is also expected to face disturbance because of the Writers Guild of America strike.

The Writers Guild of America strike, if happens, will be the first since the strike of 2007-08 that prompted multiple changes in the union contract, but at the same time made the Hollywood television industry suffer. The strike about a decade ago lasted for 100 days and it threw an adverse impact on the TV seasons as well as hampered movie production schedules. As a result, the industry had to face a heavy financial toll.

The alliance reminded that the writers had to pay a compensation of $287 million for the earlier strike. "The companies are committed to reaching a deal at the bargaining table that keeps the industry working," the alliance stated on Monday.

WGA and Studios reach mutual agreement after 2007-08 strike
WGA and Studios reach mutual agreement after 2007-08 strike [Image by Toby Canham / Getty Images]

The Writers Guild of America noted that 96.3 percent of the total members have favored the decision. Hence, it is likely that the leaders will launch a strike if no mutual agreement is reached until the deadline.

"We thank you for your resolve and your faith in us as your representatives," the WGA negotiators addressed group members in a letter. "We are determined to achieve a fair contract."

It is to be noted here that the WGA strike in 2007 received the support of 90 percent of the members to authorize a strike, which imposed a prominent impact on the industry. Comparatively, the percentage is more and it is expected that the impact of the expected strike will also be more.

[Featured Image by David McNew / Getty Images]