So the Writers Guild of America (WGA) strike is over after three months, sparked by members wanting additional recompense for material used on DVDs or over the internet. Loss of production is estimated to have cost the LA film and TV industry about $733 million (£374 million), with the wider economy losing about $1.3 billion (£663 million).
Provisional agreement was reached between industry leaders and the WGA representatives at the weekend, and although union leaders could have ratified the deal themselves, they wanted the wider membership to agree it too. Now 92.5% of the 3,775 members have signalled their acceptance and so it’s back to work. Writers who had a production deal were able to go back to work on Monday, but most members will be finding out whats happening to their shows today.
Hits such as House, Grey’s Anatomy and Desperate Housewives will get priority, and writers will face immense pressure to get new episodes ready to begin shooting (it’ll be at least two weeks before full filming will resume). Some series have effectively wrapped up a truncated season (for example, Heroes) and won’t have new episodes until the autumn. Newer shows are in a much more perilous situation as the networks will have to decide if they want to run an expensive ad campaign to remind people about them. That’s a shame as there were some very strong shows this season that deserve to have a proper shot.
I won’t list whos likely to do what as the situation is currently changing hourly, but you can find out the fate of your favourite show here
Films haven’t been as severely affected due to their longer production times, but it’s expected that things will get moving again very quickly for Angels and Demons, a sequel to The Da Vinci Code, which had been all ready to go when the strike hit.
It also means that the Oscar ceremony will go ahead as planned on February 24. ‘Our writers are going to be writing very fast,’ admitted producer Gil Cates yesterday. Can Atonement repeat its Bafta success and snare the Best Picture award? At least well get to see. And it’s excellent news to have the ceremony back in its 80th year (look for a celebration of the best – and worst – of the Academy Awards next week).
But don’t get too excited too soon. The actors are due to go on strike soon over the same issue. Let’s hope that a deal is more keenly sought in their case.