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It’s 12:01 am Monday morning, so I guess this story is now obligatory. The Writers Guilde of America strike is on, officially. The last time they walked out it was 1988, it lasted 5 months, and cost the entertainment industry millions. Back then writers weren’t competing with the likes of YouTube and reality television. If this one lasts as long, don’t be surprised if the long lasting effects aren’t a little more devastating.
For now though, the effects of the WGA’s strike will be almost unnoticeable. Hollywood has at least six months worth of movies stockpiled. It’d probably be a year before this had any impact on what’s in theaters. This summer actors are expected to strike as well, which would really put a hold on things, but for now it’ll be business as usual in the movie biz, with the only real difference being the almost manic, panic-greenlighting of movies that might not otherwise get made.
On television, the effects are likely to be somewhat more immediate. Speculation is that daily television programming like The Tonight Show and The Daily Show will be forced to go to re-runs starting tonight, without writers to script the jokes. But how long can they afford to do that if the strike goes on for several weeks or months? I’d love to see Conan simply walk out on stage without a net and talk to the audience, or maybe do an entire show of nothing but guests, dropping the whole monologue thing. Script shows should continue running as long as they have episodes in the can. I guess that means we’ve got the rest of this season.
And of course there’s always the possibility that writers could buck the union and just keep working anyway. This doesn’t just effect them after all, they’re putting thousands of other people out of work. Production people, actors, all the hundreds of different jobs associated with the film and television industries. Maybe they’ll feel guilty, or maybe they’ll simply miss having cash in their own wallets. Rumor has it that the major studios and television networks have already been circulating memo’s advising strikers on how to cross the picket lines. And if they don’t, there are plenty of starving, un-guilded writers out there ready and willing to play scab, Cinema Blend’s own Mack Rawden among them.
So the strike is one, but unless you’re somewhere in Hollywood, there’s probably no good reason to care. America will start getting interested when there’s nothing good to watch on Television. We’ll be covering it anyway, on the off chance that some of you do get interested, or so that when you do start getting pissed at all the re-runs you’ll turn to us. Tune in to our dedicated strike channel. All strike news, all the time by clicking right here.