After 14 weeks, the Writers Guild of America strike is now over. WGA members voted for a deal with the AMPTP and it’s reported the deal was approved by 92.5% of those members. Writers have been on strike in the US since early November 2007, following a dispute over the amount of money they get for online and DVD sales of their work. The new deal addresses those issues, and all writers return to work this week. The US TV industry has been cripplied by the strike, meaning such networks as Fox needing to bring in American Idol and other reality shows & unscripted programming to fill the gaps left behind by scripted comedy and drama that couldn’t be produced. The movie industry hasn’t been affected as much as TV, as films are made over a much longer timespan than TV series.
The BBC News website reports “the strike is said to have cost Los Angeles’ film and TV industry around $733m (£374m), with the wider economy losing around $1.3bn (£663m)” and that we can expect new programmes in “about two months”. The Tonight Show With Jay Leno, Late Night With Conan O’Brien, The Daily Show With Jon Stewart and The Colbert Report all have their writing teams back and new shows are already being made. The Late Show With David Letterman and the Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson have had their writing team since January, when David Letterman’s production company Worldwide Pants Inc agreed an interim deal.
The Oscars (which are being hosted by The Daily Show’s Jon Stewart this year) can now go ahead as planned, with writers for the ceremony needing to produce immense numbers of scripts in a short timespan before the show airs on the 24th February. Speaking to the BBC, the boss of CBS Les Moonves said “At the end of the day, everybody won”. Media website Digital Spy report “The result – with nearly 3,500 for and 283 against the agreement – was announced yesterday evening Pacific Time, during the early hours of today GMT”.