Negotiations come down to the wire as writers and management wrestle over minimum fees, royalties, staffing requirements, and the use of artificial intelligence.
On April 24th, Seth Meyers took a break from being funny.
The host of NBC’s “Late Night with Seth Meyers” and former cast member and head writer for “Saturday Night Live” paused at the end of his online “Corrections” segment to discuss a potential writers’ strike that could shut down TV production.
Members of the Writers Guild of America last month voted overwhelmingly in favor of going on strike if no new deal is reached before their current contract expires at 11:59 p.m. PDT on May 1.
Some of the issues include minimum fees, royalties, staffing requirements, and the use of artificial intelligence in script production.
The guild wants safeguards to prevent studios from using AI to generate new scripts from writers’ previous work, the Guardian reported, and writers also want to ensure they are not asked to rewrite draft scripts created by AI.
“It would really be a miserable thing for people to have to go through,” said Meyers, who noted that he had gone through a writers’ strike in 2007, “especially considering we’re on the heels of that awful pandemic that affected obviously not just show business but all of us.”
Writers Struggling to Support Themselves
He added that he was “incredibly grateful that there are negotiators for both sides sitting and talking and incredibly hopeful that they can come to an agreement.”
“I also feel very strongly that what the writers are asking for is not unreasonable, and as a proud member of the Guild, I’m very grateful that there is an organization that looks out for the best interests of writers,” Meyers said.
Many of the media and tech companies producing shows that use the writers have seen drops in their stock prices, prompting deep cost-cutting, including layoffs.
However, many writers cannot support themselves with writing alone and contending with reduced job opportunities as well as the loss of some sources of income due to an industry shift from traditional broadcast and cable programming to streaming services.
The union is negotiating with Alliance of Motion Pictures and Television Producers, which represents Amazon (AMZN) – Get Free Report, Apple (AAPL) – Get Free Report, CBS (VIACA) – Get Free Report, Disney (DIS) – Get Free Report, Comcsast’s (CMCSA) – Get Free Report NBC Universal, Netflix (NFLX) – Get Free Report, Paramount Global, Sony (SNEJF) and Warner Bros. Discovery (WBD) – Get Free Report.
The alliance has said in a statement that “the goal is to keep production active so that all of us can continue working and continue to deliver to consumers the best entertainment product available in the world.”
A Writers’ Strike Impacts Streaming, Cable, and Broadcast
“The AMPTP companies approach this negotiation and the ones to follow with the long-term health and stability of the industry as our priority,” the statement read. “We are all partners in charting the future of our business together and fully committed to reaching a mutually beneficial deal with each of our bargaining partners.”
Meyers said the strike would not only affect the writers, “but all the incredible non-writing staff on these shows,” and the impact of the strike could be considerable. The 2007 strike, which lasted 100 days, reportedly cost the industry $2 billion.
“There’s not a single member of the @WGAWest or @WGAEast who ‘want’ a strike,” writer Amy Berg tweeted on April 30. “We’d kindly ask the press to not use that language. A strike would only occur if the studios lock us out at the expiration of our current contract in lieu of offering a fair and reasonable deal.”
Many shows have already filmed their final episodes for the current season, CNN said, and viewers could see an immediate impact with late night shows, daytime soap operas and shows such as Saturday Night Live, which could have early ends to their seasons.
“So if you don’t see me here next week, know that it is a something that is not done lightly,” Meyer said at the end of his segment, “and that I will be heartbroken to miss you as well and let’s just keep our-you-know-what and see me when you see me.”
TheStreet, Inc. All rights reserved. Action Alerts PLUS is a registered trademark of TheStreet, Inc.
This story was originally published May 1, 2023, 11:31 AM.
Read the full article here