Why TV writers just came close to almost completely shutting down Hollywood
May 2, 2017, 22:47 IST
In the late hours on Monday night, Hollywood was holding its breath as writers and producers were trying to hammer out a deal that would keep much of the entertainment industry from shutting down.
As the timer ticked down to a midnight deadline before a strike, the Writers Guild of America - which represents the people who write scripted TV, as well as a growing number of nonfiction and reality writers - worked to come to an agreement with the group that represents the studios, the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers.
What was at stake? It really isn't outlandish to say that a writers' strike would shut down Hollywood. The last time the WGA members striked from 2007 to 2008, hundreds of writers walked out of their jobs. That meant many TV series had to cut their seasons short or end production. Many new series couldn't even launch production and died on the vine. The film industry came to a relative standstill.
Back then, TV's saving grace was reality television. In fact, that writers' strike marked a big wave of nonfiction programming, the staffs of which weren't part of a union then. But guess what? The WGA unionized many nonfiction writers and story producers in the years that followed. So if a strike did happen this week, it would've been an unprecedented shutdown of the TV industry, one that would've hit variety and late-night shows instantly.
What were the writers fighting for? It's essentially the same things any union - from auto workers to educators - fight for: more money, better and affordable health care, and some job security as modern advancements in technology have affected their jobs.
Thankfully for entertainment fans everywhere, the WGA and the AMPTP were able to come to agreement that would cover the next three years. The next step, ratification by the WGA members, is a formality at this point. But Hollywood certainly slept better Monday night after news of the deal broke.
Here's why writers came so close to shutting down Hollywood:
Increased backend payments for streaming viewership.