The world of television is complicated. Every three years the various writers groups, including The Writers Guilds of America and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, renegotiate contracts, most of the time with little fanfare. But recent reports have indicated that this time around may not be the same. Instead, people have been worried the two groups are bracing for a strike, which means we probably should, too. If negotiations don't work out, it could be affecting our TV in the future.
Currently, negotiations are set to get underway on March 13, so it's a little early to expect that a writers strike is definitely going to happen. The groups will meet to renegotiate contracts, and will need to come to an agreement before the current Minimum Basic Agreement expires on May 1. Per the NY Post, the last time there was a writers strike, people went back to work after the writers finally got a share of Digital earnings for shows, among other complaints.
A writers strike could be a big deal. The last time there was a big writers strike was in 2007, when the writers in the industry shut down work in November of 2007 and didn't pick up again until mid-February in 2008. That year, TV dealt with far shorter seasons, because when writers are not working, new episodes are not being produced. Previous reports have indicated that some writers are not happy with their current lot this time around, especially since there is so much additional TV being produced for myriad services these days.
If there is a strike and if negotiations run over, the good news is that most major TV shows will be wrapping up for the season, soon. This means our TV viewership during the 2016-2017 should mostly remain unaffected. Depending on if and when the strike is called and how long the theoretical strike would last, it could certainly affect next season's TV schedule, however. We'll keep you posted as soon as negotiations are underway, as well as when an outcome is achieved.
For now, TV is running strong. A lot of people have bandied about the term "Golden Age" in regards to TV in recent years, as subscription cable and cable have ramped up production of originals and streaming services like Netflix, Hulu and Amazon have also entered the original programming game. That means there's a lot of work for writers in the TV realm right now, but the writers still have demands in regards to treatment by the industry. While there are plenty of jobs, the payscale for a lot of these jobs have gone down, possibly because some networks have bigger budgets than other networks and streaming services.
While we wait to see what happens with The Writers Guilds of America and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, you can find out what TV is heading to the schedule with our midseason TV premiere guide. In addition, you can take a look at what has already been cancelled and renewed with our network rundown.