What shows are affected, what to watch

Looking for a Hollywood writer? They’re probably on the picket line.

At 12:01 a.m., the Writers Guild of America, the union representing most writers for film and TV in the U.S., went on strike, bringing production to a screeching halt. The strike comes after weeks of negotiations failed to generate a contract between the guild and Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP), which bargains on behalf of the nine largest studios.

The strike comes 15 years after the guild walked off for 100 days in 2007 and 2008, and in that time the entertainment industry has been upending by the rise of streaming services like Netflix. While the labor dispute goes on, work in Hollywood is grinding to a halt. What does that mean for the TV shows and movies you love to watch? Here’s how the strike will impact network TV, streaming series and movies.

What TV shows are affected by the writers strike? Talk shows, late night, ‘SNL’ go dark

Stephen Colbert, Jimmy Fallon, Jimmy Kimmel and others depend on writers and produce shows the day they air. The strike immediately forces a shutdown, a fact which “Late Night” host Seth Meyers addressed on the air last week. Some daytime talk shows, including “The Kelly Clarkson Show,” have also shut down. NBC’s “Saturday Night Live,” which has three episodes scheduled for May, is finished for the remainder of the season, meaning former cast member Pete Davidson won’t be returning to host. Reruns will fill these slots.

More: Hollywood writers, slamming ‘gig economy,’ to go on strike

The writers strike will hit soap operas next

Daytime soap operas like “Days of Our Lives” and “General Hospital” operate on fast and furious production schedules, meaning they have the fewest finished scripts and episodes to air. In a few weeks they will also go dark.

Your favorite network series are OK — probably

Most broadcast shows, such as NBC’s “Law & Order” and ABC’s “Abbott Elementary,” will finish their seasons; their finale episodes have already been written and filmed. But depending on how long the strike goes on, their return dates in the fall are up in the air. (A handful, including NBC’s “Quantum Leap,” started producing episodes for next season early in preparation for a possible strike.) 

The strike won’t affect streaming for awhile

Streaming shows on Netflix, HBO Max and others, are produced much further in advance than their network counterparts. The schedule will be unaffected in the short term, but the strike could delay shows meant to return later this year and in 2024. It’s uncertain whether actors (also unionized in the Screen Actors Guild) would agree to film projects from already completed scripts during a strike.

What about movies?

Movies have an even longer lag time from script to screen, so titles set to release in 2024 and 2025 are most likely to be affected by a strike, forcing delays.

What can I watch during the writers strike?

This strike is different from the 2007-2008 work stoppage primarily because streaming services weren’t a dominant form of entertainment consumption back then. The airwaves were filled with reality television and foreign imports. This time around there are hundreds of shows available to audiences on demand, meaning the strike won’t leave viewers without options like last time. It’s not clear how that will affect how long the strike lasts, and how negotiations will ultimately go.

“The companies’ behavior has created a gig economy inside a union workforce, and their immovable stance in this negotiation has betrayed a commitment to further devaluing the profession of writing,” the WGA said in a statement. The AMPTP said it presented an offer with “generous increases in compensation for writers,” and that it was prepared to improve its offer “but was unwilling to do so because of the magnitude of other proposals still on the table that the guild continues to insist upon.”

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