The Writersâ Guild of America has voted yes to authorizing a strike if the guildâs current negotiations with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers doesnât resolve by the May 1 deadline.
Take a break, Jimmy, JimmyÂ and Stephen. Never mind, Melissa McCarthy, about bringing backÂ your Sean Spicer impression to Saturday Night Live in a few weeks. Walk away, Walking Dead. And Star Trek: Discovery? You could be…well, grounded.
Those are just some of viewers’ favorite TV shows that could be affected if theÂ Writers Guild of AmericaÂ â the scribblers who script the hilarity and drama of TV Â â go on strike starting May 2.
But all is not lost, yet: HBO’sÂ Game of ThronesÂ can continue the killing and plotting because it’s already wrapped production for Season 7, premieringÂ July 16.
The WGA members, about 6,000 writers, voted overwhelmingly Monday to authorize a strike against the Hollywood studios if the two sides do not negotiate a new contract by midnight on May 1, when the current contract expires.
The strike authorization vote was largely a formality, one that most labor unions seek before heading into last-ditch negotiations, which began Tuesday between the guild and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers.
As of Friday, the two sidesÂ were still in negotiations behind closed doors and closed mouths: AÂ media blackout wasÂ in effect, and tension was mounting in Hollywood.
Neither side wants a repeat of the last writers’ work stoppage âÂ which lasted 100 days in 2007-2008 â so a strike might not happen.
But be prepared to watch reruns and reality shows for a while if it does. (Maybe open a book? Just a thought.)
“It’s going to be ugly is the headline,” says David Atkins,Â an assistant professor of film, TVÂ and media arts at Quinnipiac University in Connecticut, and a movie screenwriter (Novocaine, Arizona Dream) who is a member of the guild. “It was ugly 10 years ago, (and) it’s going to get ugly again, so everyone has a vested interest in figuring something out.”
Cable and streaming services could be more stymied by a strike than the broadcast networks, which marks a dramatic change from 10 years ago. Streaming services didnât even exist as original programming outlets during the last strike, and cable networks produced far fewer programs at that time.
Still, networks desperate for content will turn to reruns but also toÂ reality TV, which is actually scripted (despite what they say) but not by WGA writers.
“That was the solution 10 years ago,” AtkinsÂ says. “Networks are looking for more innovative solutions now, but there are not a whole lot of…