With production about to begin on the latest season of AMC’s The Walking Dead, news of a potential writers’ strike is not what fans want to hear. This is especially the case if it means the premiere date of Season 8 could be delayed. But, what are the chances of that? And, what are the writers striking about anyway?
It was recently announced that production for Season 8 of AMC’s The Walking Dead was to begin on Tuesday, April 25. Along with this, Chandler Riggs, who plays Carl Grimes, tweeted his excitement over reading the script for Episode 1. However, as Comic Book points out, production may be halted as early as May 2, if “an agreement between the Writers Guild of America and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television producers is not met” on May 1.
The reason behind this potential strike is the fact screen writers feel they are not getting paid enough, or receiving “greater compensation” for their work since many networks have cut the number of episodes to television shows, effectively giving the writers a pay cut over the same period of time than in previous years. Comic Book also cites “health care benefit” issues as another contributing factor.
Negotiations have occurred in relation to a three-year contract that is due to expire on May 1. According to Vulture, since March 13, WGA and AMPTP have been trying to negotiate a new contract ahead of the expiration date. These negotiations have stalled, leading to a call to begin a strike-authorization vote. The results of this vote will not be available until April 24. Discussions will then be resumed on April 25. If strike action is voted in, this doesn’t mean a strike will definitely occur. However, it does mean things are getting pretty serious. And, for those who remember the 2007-2008 writers’ strike that lasted for more than 14 weeks, or the 1988 strike that lasted for nearly 22 weeks, it is time to start worrying about your favorite shows.
So, what does this mean for The Walking Dead?
During the 2007-2008 writers’ strike, a large number of programs started later than normal thanks to the delay in production work during the strike. This is annoying, but at least the content of the shows were not affected. Shows that were currently being scripted sometimes found they had to shorten the upcoming season to accommodate for the shorter amount of writing time. For The Walking Dead, this is a possibility if the writers’ strike goes ahead and all episodes have not yet been written to accommodate Season 8.
Some shows, especially newer programs, or ones that were waning in popularity, were cancelled altogether as a result of the 2007-2008 writers’ strike. Luckily, this is not likely to happen to The Walking Dead, which is hugely popular and successful, having amassed an enormous audience. But, if you have a new show you love, or one that has a cult following that doesn’t equate to a large viewership, now is the time to worry.
Thanks to Chandler’s tweet, we know the script for Episode 1 of Season 8 of The Walking Dead is written. More than likely, other episodes beyond this are also written. Along with this, producers usually write the general story arc for each season prior to the nitty-gritty of writing each episode, so the writers for The Walking Dead should know what is going to happen over the course of the season, even if it hasn’t been written in its entirety yet.
An option, if writers do strike, is that AMC could employ non-union writers to complete Season 8. If AMC doesn’t employ non-union writers, and the writers’ strike is as lengthy as previous strikes, fans could expect a delay in the Season 8 premiere date. Usually, The Walking Dead commences each season in October. Eight episodes will air and then there is a hiatus until February. Potentially, AMC might have to shorten Season 8 to accommodate for time lost if there is a strike.
Alternatively, AMC could push the start date of Season 8 of The Walking Dead forward and run the entire season without a mid-season break. However, this will then effect all of their programming as they have to shuffle everything around
What do you think will happen to Season 8 of The Walking Dead if there is a writers’ strike? Let us know by commenting below.
The Walking Dead is expected to return to AMC with Season 8 in the fall of 2017.
[Featured Image by Spencer Platt/Getty Images]