The writers strike is over — and Hollywood is ready to get back to work.
The Writers Guild of America voted on Tuesday, September 26, to lift its five-month-long strike following a tentative deal with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers. While the decision to officially ratify their new contract will come next month, the end of picketing means writer’s rooms and pre-production can resume on various projects. (SAG-AFTRA remains on strike, but is set to meet with the AMPTP on Monday, October 2, for negotiations.)
When it comes to TV, most networks and streaming services will be picking back up with their most long-running shows first, along with their big-budget freshmen series that were previously in preproduction or shooting pre-strike, according to Variety. Because studios won’t have to focus on casting or assembling new writers rooms, broadcast shows such as ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy and Abbott Elementary, Fox’s 9-1-1: Lone Star, and the Law & Order, One Chicago and FBI franchises could likely be set for January to spring releases once SAG-AFTRA and the AMPTP agree on a new contract.
“Networks are going to really want to move things through quickly, as quickly as they can. So I wouldn’t be surprised to see some experimentation there, in terms of the overlap between writing and shooting in an even more compressed way than we’ve gotten to in this time-delivery system,” J.D. Connor, an associate professor of cinema and media studies at USC, told the outlet on Thursday.
HBO, meanwhile, is hoping to put House of Dragon back on people’s screens by summer 2024 and is currently looking ahead to a third season of the Game of Thrones sequel, which has yet to be announced. Season 2 of The Last of Us, along with Euphoria and The White Lotus’ third seasons will also be a focus of the network over the creation of new projects.
While Stranger Things was initially gearing up to begin filming in May, production was put on hold once Hollywood went on strike. The Duffer brothers — who created the critically acclaimed sci-fi series — were some of the first to speak out in support of the writer’s guild, announcing they would be shutting down production until a fair deal was reached between the WGA and AMPTP.
“Duffers here. Writing does not stop when filming begins. While we’re excited to start production with our amazing cast and crew, it is not possible during this strike,” the duo wrote via X in May shortly after picketing began. “We hope a fair deal is reached soon so we can all get back to work. Until then — over and out. #wgastrong.”
The shutdown undoubtedly was a huge hit for Netflix, as Stranger Things season 4 marked the streaming service’s most-watched show of 2022 and has continued to be a juggernaut since its 2016 debut.
Following WGA’s unanimous vote to lift the strike earlier this week, the Duffers took to social media to announce they are back in action. “We’re back,” they typed on a sheet of white paper.
The WGA’s decision comes after the union and the AMPTP reached a tentative agreement on a three-year contract on Sunday, September 24. “We can say, with great pride, that this deal is exceptional — with meaningful gains and protections for writers in every sector of the membership,” the negotiating committee for the WGA wrote in a Sunday email to its members.
The WGA also released the complete 94-page of the new terms on Tuesday, which includes compensation gains, a new requirement for minimum staff levels in TV writer’s rooms, improvement payment terms for screenwriters and protections for the use of artificial intelligence.
While writers are picking up their pens, production can’t truly resume until the actor’s guild — which is e also demanding fairer wages, streaming residuals and protections against AI — is given its own fair deal by the studios. SAG-AFTRA joined the picket lines in July, marking the first time the WGA and SAG-AFTRA were simultaneously on strike since the 1960s.